Lawyers confer on fate of wanted Indian billionaire

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A battery of lawyers representing Indian fraud-accused jeweller Mehul Choksi has been extra busy all week, amid continued efforts by Indian law enforcement to extradite him from Antigua and Barbuda.

One of Choksi’s attorneys, Dr. David Dorsett, told OBSERVER media that he and others representing the billionaire investor are reviewing the case, and should soon be able to respond to recent comments out of India.

He said the lawyers are working in different jurisdictions, including India where the case was filed, and Antigua and Barbuda where the extradition request was made last year.

Choksi, who claims to have a serious medical

condition which makes

it impossible for him to travel the 41-hour journey to his native land, arrived in Antigua shortly before the charges were filed against him.

He is one of the people accused in the multi-million-dollar Punjab National Bank fraud case.

His Indian passport was recently revoked but he retains citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, which he obtained via the Citizenship by Investment Programme or CIP.

Indian authorities, however, say although his native passport was revoked and he surrendered that document, he remains a citizen and therefore his extradition will be pursued.

Venkatachalam Mahalingam, the Indian high commissioner to Guyana and non-resident high commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda, as well as to St. Kitts and Nevis, said: “He has not renounced his Indian citizenship. We have revoked his passport, but that does not mean we have revoked his citizenship. We must agree if someone wants to renounce their citizenship. We have not agreed.

“You cannot commit some crime and run away from the country and [think] we’d allow you to renounce your citizenship. That would look really stupid.”

Choksi and his nephew, Nirav Modi, a celebrity diamantaire who also skipped India, are jointly accused of colluding with a handful of bankers to secure credit from overseas banks using fraudulent guarantees.

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