In a major development, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Wednesday said that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi was a “crook” and Indian officials are “free to interrogate him”, reports ANI.
According to the reports, PM Gaston Browne said that his government has got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi was a crook and does not add any value to his country. He further added that Choksi will be deported ultimately after he exhausts all his appeals and added that Indian officials are free to investigate based on Mehul Choksi’s willingness to participate.
#WATCH Antigua & Barbuda PM Gaston Browne: Got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi is a crook, he doesn’t add value to our country. He will be deported ultimately after he exhausts appeals, Indian officials are free to investigate based on his willingness to participate. pic.twitter.com/FbAaIml0Fv
— ANI (@ANI) September 25, 2019
Reportedly, Browne mentioned that it was unfortunate that Choksi was cleared by Indian officials as a person in “good standing” only to be told later that he is a “crook”.
“In any case, our officials acted based on the information from India and made him a citizen …the Indian officials have to take the responsibility for that situation,” Browne said.
In January 2018, Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi fled after the Rs 14,000-crore PNB fraud surfaced. After fleeing the country, he surrendered his Indian passport and took up Antiguan citizenship. On June 17, Choksi had submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, stating that he is residing in Antigua and was willing to co-operate in the investigation into the PNB scam.
However, the Antiguan government had then decided to revoke Choksi’s citizenship. Antiguan PM Gaston Browne himself had declared that Choksi’s Antiguan citizenship will be rescinded.
To avoid extradition from Antigua, the fugitive economic offender Mehul Choski has been giving a bizarre explanation to avoid appearance before the Indian courts. He had once claimed that there are numerous mob lynching incidents in India lately and had said that he feared the same if he came back to the country.
In another instance, he had claimed that he was unable to send legal documents to his lawyer in India ahead of a hearing in Bombay High Court because of an “untimely typhoon” in Antigua and Barbuda.