Terming Punjab National Bank fraud accused Mehul Choksi a ‘crook’, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne assured Thursday that his deportation to India was imminent and merely a matter of time. Browne’s remarks come three months after he announced that Choksi’s citizenship of the Carribean country is slated to be revoked.
Talking to Doordarshan News, Browne said, “I can assure you that he will be ultimately deported after exhausting all his appeals. He will be extradited back to India to face whatever charges against him. It is just a matter of time.”
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore.
Browne also informed that Antigua and Barbuda had an independent judiciary and the matter was before the court.
“He is allegedly a crook. If we would have known that he is a crook, he could not have gotten the Antiguan citizenship,” Browne was quoted as saying on the 60-year-old jeweller’s deportation.
“He would be repatriated and sent back to India to face charges as he brings no value to Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne further said on the sidelines of the United Nation’s General Assembly’s annual session.
Choksi has repeatedly maintained that he would return to India as soon as he was medically fit to travel.
“Hence, the allegations that I left the country to avoid criminal prosecution is without any basis as the PNB itself came to know about the alleged fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking only on January 16, 2018,” Choksi was earlier quoted as saying by PTI.
“I have not left the country under suspicious circumstances,” Choksi’s affidavit to Bombay High court reads, adding that he had always responded to summonses issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED and was not shying away from facing the law.