The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said it has submitted the extradition request for absconding diamantaire Mehul Choksi with Antigua and Barbuda. Confirming the development in the case, the ministry said it has been told that the government in Antigua and Barbuda is examining the request. In a media briefing today, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said they will have to wait and will update after further developments. The matter was tabled with authorities in the country on August 3.
The MEA also confirmed that on the Enforcement Directorate’s request for extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, the matter was forwarded to the UK Central Authority on August 3. The step was taken after two red-corner notices issued by ED. However, the ministry said it will wait for a response from the British government. Also Read: Surat: Officials begin procedure to declare Nirav Modi absconder in 2014 custom duty evasion case
Clearing the deck for Choksi’s extradition, India had notified an extradition arrangement with Antigua and Barbuda on Friday. The official gazette notification by the MEA became public on Monday.
According to the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1993 of Antigua and Barbuda, a fugitive may be extradited to a Designated Commonwealth Country or a State with which there are general or special arrangements or a bilateral treaty. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda notified India as a designated Commonwealth country in 2001.
This move by the government assumes significance amid reports that Choksi has reportedly moved a court in Antigua and Barbuda against being extradited. India has already submitted a formal extradition request to Antigua and Barbuda.
Choksi fled India in January, a few weeks before a massive scam at Punjab National Bank came to light. He and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding the bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.