Mehul Choksi will be repatriated to India, officials confirm

Roseau: Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who was apprehended in Dominica on Wednesday, will be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the country revealed to WIC News today.

There were speculations that Choksi, who had allegedly fled Antigua some days ago, would be extradited back to India to answer fraud charges against him, however, he will now be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship.

“Choksi would be charged with illegally entering Dominica and by the rule of law, he will be sent back to his home country Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship for the past four years,” the officials told WIC News.

The officials also confirmed that Choksi had entered the country through seaways. The Caribbean Island of Dominica is often used as an illegal route to counties like Cuba and the even United States by illegal immigrants, reported WIC News.

Earlier, Choksi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, said that legally, as per Section 17 and 23 of the Immigration and Passport Act, Mehul Choksi can only be deported to Antigua.

In a statement, Advocate Aggarwal said, “As per the Indian Citizenship Act, Section 9, the moment Mehul Choksi acquired the citizenship of Antigua, he ceased to be a Citizen of India. Hence, legally, as per Immigration and Passport Act Section 17 and 23, he can be deported only to Antigua.”

He further said that he thought it was ‘fishy’ at the moment, no one was looking into how exactly Choksi reached Dominica. It has to be done legally, Choksi’s lawyer said further, adding that this was not a game of chess.

“We are dealing with a human being. Not a pawn that can be placed here or there and it cannot be on somebody’s desires and whims. Further, as per the universal declaration of human rights there are international covenants on voluntary repatriation and a person can be deported to only the country of their citizenship,” added his lawyer.

In an exclusive interview to ANI on Wednesday, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne said fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who has been found in Dominica, will be repatriated to India, and Indian authorities are in touch with those in Dominica.

Browne said Dominica has agreed to Choksi’s repatriation and Antigua will not accept him back. Browne said he has requested PM Skerrit and law enforcement in Dominica to not return Choksi to Antigua where he has legal and constitutional protection as a citizen.

A massive manhunt was launched after Choksi went missing and an Interpol Yellow Notice was issued by Antigua and Barbuda. He was traced and captured in neighbouring Dominica.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in India for allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank, using letters of undertaking.