India first cleared Mehul Choksi then said he’s a crook: Antigua PM Gaston Browne blasts India

Mehul Choksi, the fugitive billionaire wanted in the $1.4 billion PNB scam was cleared by India officials and then declared a crook, claims the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne.

While speaking to Indian reporters Gaston Browne said: “Our officials acted based on the information from India and made him a citizen… the Indian officials have to take the responsibility for that situation. [Later] got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi is a crook, he does not add value to our country. He will be deported ultimately after he exhausts appeals. Indian officials are free to investigate based on his willingness to participate.”

The Prime Minister added, “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.”

Billionaire diamond merchant, Mehul Choksi is wanted in India for duping Rs. 13,500 crore or $1.4 billion belonged to state owned bank, the Punjab National Bank. He was granted citizenship in the Caribbean nation in January 2018.

59-year-old Choksi refused to return to India, saying he fears “mob lynching”. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which moved a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai to get Mehul Choksi declared a fugitive economic offender, has accused the diamantaire of fleeing the country to avoid arrest.

India had cancelled the passports of Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi in February, after investigators uncovered the huge loan fraud at PNB. Nirav Modi was arrested on March 20 in UK and has been in a prison in the UK, one of the largest prisons in Western Europe.

On June 17, he had submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, stating that he is residing in Antigua and was willing to co-operate in the investigation into the PNB scam.

Last month, his lawyer told the high court that Mehul Choksi cannot submit his medical reports in Mumbai, as directed earlier, because his doctor in Antigua has refused to treat him “due to some reason”.

Source : Various