Government breaks silence on Indian CIP recipient scandal

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If any request is made by the Indian government for Mehul Choksi to be returned from Antigua and Barbuda to be prosecuted in his homeland for alleged fraud, the government here says it would make every effort “within the law” to honour “a legitimate request.”
That’s according to information coming out in the official post Cabinet press briefing notes issued by Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst.
In his report on what was discussed in Cabinet today, Hurst indicated that it was noted that Antigua and Barbuda and India do not have an extradition agreement.
Choksi is an Indian national who acquired Antigua and Barbuda citizenship in November last year, and who swore allegiance to the country in January this year.
He has since been identified as a person of interest in his country.
The Cabinet indicated that the new citizen of Antigua and Barbuda has not been charged with any crime, “neither has any request been made of the Antigua and Barbuda Government for any action to be taken against the national.”
However, additional questions sent today to the prime minister, Gaston Browne, regarding the matter have not been answered. Yesterday he referred our newsroom to the acting top cop, Atlee Rodney, who is yet to respond to our enquiries.
It was the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) that confirmed to OBSERVER media yesterday afternoon that the billionaire businessman wanted for alleged fraud in India, was granted Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship in November 2017 after a rigorous due diligence process.
The CIU stated that “after extensive vetting, Choksi was granted citizenship by registration” and that his application was “subject to robust due diligence international investigation” and that “the 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information.”
The CIU also confirmed that after being granted citizenship in November last year, Choksi swore the Oath of Allegiance in Antigua on January 15, 2018.
A widely circulating article on the Times of India online dated July 24, 2018 and headlined, ‘Mehul Choksi has moved to Antigua, taken local passport’ states that Indian law enforcement have been informed by official sources in Antigua and Barbuda that the wanted man arrived here this month but OBSERVER has not confirmed this.
Interpol is also reportedly involved in the investigation according to several online sources.
Choksi is a diamond tycoon who is wanted for a US $2.1 billion fraud scandal in India known as the Punjab National Bank Fraud Case.
He is 59-years-old and is the owner of the Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India.

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