India Abroad

Antigua Govt Assures Full Cooperation In Extradition Of PNB Scam Accused Mehul Choksi

| September 27 , 2018 , 10:58 IST

On the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda E P Chet Greene who assured that the full cooperation of their government in the extradition of Mehul Choksi, media reported on Thursday.

The India government had on August 5 formally handed over an extradition request to Antiguan authorities for Mehul Choksi, who is co-accused in the Punjab National Bank scam of Rs 13,417 crore and reportedly secured an Antiguan passport for which he had applied in May 2017.

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Minister of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed the meeting between the two leaders and the discussion on extradition of Choksi.

"Meeting had been arranged at the request of Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. He personally wanted to tell the EAM of the commitment of his PM, his govt regarding the extradition of Mehul Choksi," Raveesh Kumar said on bilateral meeting between EAM and Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

"EAM had requested him that quicker the matter is resolved, better it is. Her counterpart replied that they're trying their best, he said there are some legal angles and court procedures which they'll examine but he expressed the commitment of his PM and government before EAM," he added.

"They have to follow certain procedures internal to their country. At the same time, when we mentioned we would like this to be resolved expeditiously, they expressed their undertaking saying they would like this to be resolved as quickly as possible within the framework of their law and court process," Kumar said.

Kumar further said that Antigua's Foreign Minister Greene had told Swaraj that he wanted to personally inform her about the Antiguan government and its Prime Minister's "commitment on Mehul Choksi's extradition."

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Choksi reportedly fled from the United States to the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda on July 24 to secure himself from the extradition as the Antigua and Barbuda have strict Banking Secrecy laws and difficult terms and conditions for the extradition of an offender. India also does not have an extradition treaty with Antigua and Barbuda.

The Antigua government on July 27 indicated that it may consider a request from India to send back loan defaulter Choksi.