Choksi to be Extradited Once He’s Tried All Legal Options: Antigua
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Monday, 24 June, said PNB scam accused Mehul Choksi "will be extradited (to India) after he has exhausted all of his legal options.”
Browne also said India didn’t report Choksi’s criminal past at the time the diamantaire was granted Antiguan citizenship.
What Did the Antiguan PM Say?
During a radio show chat, the PM said, "Choksi is a typical example in which the officials in India reported that he had no criminal record and they did not report that he was wanted for financial crimes. His citizenship was processed and he got through, but the reality is that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India. So there’s recourse."
“It’s not a case that we were trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes... He has a matter before the court. As we said to the Indian government, the criminals have fundamental rights too. Choksi has the rights to go to court and defend his position, but I can assure you after he has exhausted all his legal options, he will be extradited, that’s the reality of it.”Antiguan PM Gaston Browne
Watch the video here. The relevant portions are from 14:30 to 16:15.
What is India’s Reaction?
Asked about the reports on Mehul Choksi on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, "I do not have information on the matter. I would not like to comment on it."
Meanwhile, government sources cited by ANI earlier said, "India waits for Antigua's internal process of revoking citizenship. Only after that, the extradition process can start separately. India continues to engage with Antigua. MEA (is) yet to hear officially from Antiguan government about revoking of citizenship."
What are the Indian Courts Saying?
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Bombay High Court had sought a sealed report from an expert team of doctors at the state-run JJ Hospital on Choksi’s medical condition and if he was in a position to travel.
The bench on Monday directed Choksi's advocate to submit all of his client's latest medical reports to the team of doctors at the JJ Hospital's cardiology department.
The hospital shall, on 9 July, submit the sealed report to the court with its opinion on whether Choksi can travel, the bench said. The court will hear the plea on 10 July.
Earlier, the ED had told court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring Choksi to India from Antigua.
A division bench of justices IA Mahanty and AM Badar is presently hearing a petition filed by Choksi challenging an application filed by the ED seeking to declare him a fugitive economic offender.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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