A special CBI court last week affirmed the agency’s request to issue an affidavit seeking extradition of Mehul Choksi, wanted in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. In the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty between India and Antigua and Barbuda, the request has been made through an affidavit drafted in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), to which both Antigua and Barbuda and India are signatory to.
Sources said the affidavit would be sent soon by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to Interpol, which would forward it to the National Crime Bureau of Antigua and Barbuda.
“The two countries have no extradition treaty and therefore the affidavit requesting extradition was drafted under provisions of UNCAC as both the countries are signatory to the convention. The convention is a legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument which seems to be the only way of getting Choksi extradited to India. Last week, on our request, the court affirmed the affidavit and it has been forwarded to MHA and MEA. The MEA is likely to send it to Antigua and Barbuda through the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol),” said an official.
“The affidavit was filed after the agencies learnt that Choksi had fled to Antigua and Barbuda. Replying to the diffusion notice, the US had informed India that Choksi took a flight out of their country on July 18. However, he did not travel on an Indian passport,” the official said.
“While the government is already using diplomatic channels to try and get the Caribbean-island country to agree to our request to bring Choksi to justice and extradite him, these formalities are necessary to ensure that the two work in tandem and leave no legal remedy before Choksi to avail,” the official said. Earlier, the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua and Barbuda had confirmed that Choksi was granted citizenship in November 2017.
India alerted Antigua to detain Choksi
New Delhi: India requested authorities in Antigua and Barbuda to detain PNB scam accused Mehul Choksi after it received information about his presence in the Caribbean island, government sources said on Monday.
They said India was in touch with the island nation following reports of Choksi’s presence there, and had requested the authorities to restrict his movements by land, sea and air. “We continue to liaise with relevant GOI agencies and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to follow up on this matter,” a government source said. (ENS)