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India is working with Dominican authorities to seek the early deportation of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, Indian foreign ministry Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.

Choksi, wanted in India in connection with the Rs13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering case, continues to be the custody of the Domincan authorities, Bagchi said adding that legal proceedings to get him to India were underway.

“The Government of India is actively engaged with the Dominican government to seek the early deportation or handover top India of Mehul Choksi to face justice in our country," Bagchi said.

“The criminal charges that Choksi faces in India and the facts relatingto his continued Indian citizenship have been suitably brought to the attention of authorities in the Commonwealth of Dominica."

The 62 yearold diamantaire had been living in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018, after he fled India weeks before the scam was reported. He was reported missing in May and later surfaced in Dominica where he was arrested on charges of entering the country illegally. According to news reports, Indian investigators had flown to Dominica to argue in court that Choksi is still an Indian national despite him saying that he had renounced his Indian citizenship to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. This week, Choksi missed a court date for the start of the trial against him over his illegal entry into Dominica because he was suffering from "mental stress" and he experienced high blood pressure, his lawyers were quoted as saying in news reports.

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