SEBI denies clearing Mehul Choksi’s Antigua citizenship request

New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday rubbished reports which claimed that the markets regulator had provided positive report on embattled diamantaire Mehul Choksi to the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua, based on which he was granted citizenship in their country.

The SEBI in its clarification 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.”

The CIU in a statement claimed that Choksi’s application for the citizenship was subjected to stringent background checks and that they received documentation of two instances in which the SEBI, in 2014 and 2017, opened investigations on a corporate entity owned by Choksi.

The CIA also stated that Choksi’s application was received by them in May 2017 with the necessary documents required, including a police clearance certificate as required by the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship By Investment Act 2013.

“The said police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including a visa for Antigua and Barbuda,” the CIU said.

On Monday, India had reportedly asked the Antigua and Barbuda Government to detain Choksi and prevent his movement by land, air or sea.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on a related note, had on July 25 sought the whereabouts of Choksi and written to Antiguan authorities, demanding details about him.

Choksi, who is allegedly involved in over USD 2 billion scam in the state-run PNB, has reportedly taken refuge in the Caribbean nation after moving there in July. His valid passport was revoked in February after this scam was unearthed. (ANI)