Interpol issues Red Corner Notice against PNB fraud accused Mehul Choksi after CBI’s request
After seeking additional information from the CBI, the Interpol had initiated proceedings against Choksi and has now issued a Red Notice against him.Updated: Dec 13, 2018 12:43 IST
An Interpol red corner notice has been issued against fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, a key accused in bank fraud cases at Punjab National Bank. The red corner notice, which asks countries to help arrest a wanted person, is seen as a huge setback for Mehul Choksi who became a citizen of the Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda before the multi-crore fraud came to light.
The Interpol had earlier issued Red Corner Notices against designer jeweller Nirav Modi, brother Neeshal and close aide Mihir Bhansali in this case. But the Interpol hadn’t issued one against Choksi because it needed some clarifications.
Choksi had nevertheless used the absence of an Interpol notice to suggest that the charges against him were not credible enough. Antiguan authorities had also told New Delhi that the only way it could restrict Choksi’s movement was the CBI could get a Red Corner Notice issued against him.
A CBI official said the international warrant would also help the Antigua and Barbuda government to take a call on Mehul Choksi’s citizenship.
Mehul Choksi, who owns Gitanjali Gems, became a citizen of the archetypal Caribbean islands under its programme that extends its citizenship in exchange for investment in the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda. The Antigua government had, however, made it clear that there were provisions that allowed it to revisit the citizenship decision.
Soon after Antigua learnt about the fraud case against Mehul Choksi, it had underlined that it would “honour any legitimate request” to extradite him. This implied that Choksi, who was seen to have gone beyond the reach of investigators by getting himself a new country, could still be extradited.
Both Modi and Choksi left India in the first week of January and have not returned despite repeated summons from the investigation agencies and courts. Much before he left, Choksi had enrolled under Antigua’s controversial Citizenship Investment Program that sought to tap into the global citizenship market estimated to be worth $ 2 billion.
First Published: Dec 13, 2018 11:20 IST