Stepping up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a report that said Antigua received no adverse information from Indian agencies on fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi before granting the latter citizenship, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Friday alleged that it was the BJP-led central government that gave “Mr 56’s suit-boot BFF a clean chit in Nov 2017” which helped the PNB fraud accused to escape the country.
Posting a small video clipping of PM Modi on the micro-blogging site, Gandhi said, “In today’s big news: India gave Mehul “Bhai” Chowksi, Mr 56’s “suit-boot” BFF, a clean chit in Nov 2017, enabling him to obtain Antiguan citizenship. This “Bhai” looted PNB of 13,000 Cr., before scooting from India. Here’s a little video of Mr 56 with Mehul “Bhai”, Rahul tweeted. In the video, PM Modi is seen praising the Gitanjali Gems MD and director at an event in 2015.
In today’s big news: India gave Mehul “Bhai” Chowksi, Mr 56’s “suit-boot” BFF, a clean chit in Nov 2017, enabling him to obtain Antiguan citizenship. This “Bhai” looted PNB of 13,000 Cr., before scooting from India.
Here’s a little video of Mr 56 with Mehul “Bhai” 🤫 pic.twitter.com/tt8K5XzBH4
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 3, 2018
The Congress chief’s reaction came amid reports that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had provided “positive report” on Choksi to the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua, based on which he was granted citizenship in their country. A report by a local media in the Carribean nation said that according to Antiguan authorities, Choksi was granted citizenship after the markets regulator along with the Ministry of External Affairs had submitted a “positive report” to CIU. Antigua claimed it was told by the Indian agencies that there was no adverse information against Choksi when it did a background check before granting him citizenship in 2017, local newspaper the Daily Observer reported.
SEBI, however, denied the claims. Dismissing the report published by the local daily, the markets regulator said, “SEBI has neither received any request from the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua for updates on any investigation nor provided any such information to CIU.”
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in the Rs 13,578-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, which is now being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
Choksi’s application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local police as required by norms, the report said, citing a statement from CIU of Antigua and Barbuda.