Fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi has gone ‘missing’ in Antigua and Barbuda, his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal has claimed. Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, are accused of perpetrating bank fraud worth Rs 13,600 crore on Punjab National Bank. The fraud came to light in 2018 and he along with his nephew have been on the run since. While Modi is currently in UK, Choksi was in Antigua.
“Mr Mehul Choksi is missing. His family members are worried and anxious and had called me to discuss. Antigua police are investigating. Family is in the dark and worried about his safety,” his lawyer reportedly claimed.
Choksi is currently wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Reports suggest he may have fled to Cuba fearing extradition to India. India does not have extradition treaty with Cuba.
As per reports, Choksi left his home for a dinner at a well-known restaurant in southern part of the island. He was never seen again. His vehicle was discovered at Jolly Harbour but there was no sign of Choksi. He is currently the citizen of Antigua and is fighting a battle to stop his extradition to India for the trial against him on fraud charges. Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne had earlier said that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be extradited to India once he exhausts all his legal options.
Recently, a UK court had ruled that his nephew Nirav Modi will be extradited to India from UK to face charges of conspiring to defraud PNB. Choksi faces charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption and money laundering.