Antiguan PM says Choksi’s citizenship will be revoked if he has fled the country
- Antiguan PM also said that it is highly unlikely that the fugitive diamantaire has fled to Cuba.
Antiguan prime minister Gaston Browne on Tuesday said that if fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has indeed fled the country then his citizenship will be revoked. Browne pointed out that there is no reliable information so far to confirm that Choksi, who is wanted in a ₹13,500 crore loan fraud in Punjab National Bank, has fled Antigua and Barbuda. Browne also said that the law enforcement is working round the clock to locate Mehul Choksi.
“We don't have any reliable information to date to confirm that he has fled the country. It is likely that he may still be here and law enforcement is utilizing all efforts, including all intelligence to locate him,” Brown was quoted as saying in the Antiguan parliament, according to news agency Antigua News Room.
Responding to reports that Choksi may have fled to Cuba, Browne said the possibility of Choksi leaving for Cuba on a boat is highly unlikely. "If he is in Cuba, it would have been by boat and he would have to leave within a matter of 36 hours, which is extremely unlikely," Browne said.
Browne said that the local police along with the international police are working to locate Choksi. He said that the Antiguan government is working closely with the Interpol and the Indian government. Browne highlighted that Mehul Choksi has two cases before the courts of Antigua and Barbuda - one concerning his extradition to India and the other concerning the status of his Antiguan citizenship - due to which Mehul Choksi has reason not to leave the country.
"We have been collaborating with the Indian government. Mr Choksi has two cases before the courts of Antigua and Barbuda. One is the extradition to India, and the second one is revocation of his citizenship. From all indications, Mr Mehul Choksi has very strong interests here to fight those two cases," Browne said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Choksi's lawyer refuted reports of the diamantaire fleeing to Cuba while speaking to HT. Vijay Aggarwal refuted the reports and said that Antigua police are investigating the matter. "Mehul Choksi is missing. His family members are worried and anxious and had called me to discuss. Antigua police are investigating. The family is in the dark and worried about his safety."
Choksi who fled India in 2018 left his home on Sunday to go for dinner at the southern part of the island and has been missing since, according to reports by Antiguan media.