Antigua and Barbuda’s controversial citizen by investment, Mehul Choksi, has surrendered his native Indian passport, in what is being described by Indian news outlet NDTV as a move to avoid extradition.
According to the news outlet, Choksi, a wanted fugitive in his native country, has given up his Indian citizenship and listed his new address as Jolly Harbour, Antigua.
NDTV further reports that Choksi’s latest move could make it more difficult for Indian authorities to get Antigua & Barbuda to extradite him.
“His extradition proceedings are now ongoing and this is why he surrendered his passport and India doesn’t allow dual citizenship,” the media outlet reported.
The diamond jeweller and his nephew, Nirav Modi, have been fingered in a $2 billion-dollar Punjab bank fraud.
Earlier this month, the main Indian agency investigating the alleged mega scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation, was reportedly considering sending a team to Antigua and Barbuda, in a bid to lay hold of the fraud-accused billionaire, who has been living in Antigua for about a year.
An extradition hearing is ongoing here, pitting Choksi against the government, with the parties due back in court on February 22nd.
When contacted, Choksi’s lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett, said he was unsure if or how this latest development might impact the ongoing extradition proceedings.
OBSERVER media has since confirmed that in the absence of any Indian diplomatic mission or representative here, Choksi surrendered his passport to the Indian Embassy in Guyana.