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PNB Scam: Mehul Choksi Gives Up Indian Citizenship, Surrenders Passport In Antigua

PRERNA YADAV | 1
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| January 21 , 2019 , 11:58 IST

Fugitive Businessman Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank fraud along with his nephew Nirav Modi had given up his Indian citizenship and surrendered his passport in Antigua as an attempt to avoid extradition to India.

Choksi, 59, also submitted $177 with his passport (Z-3396732) to the Indian High Commission in Antigua. The move comes after the foreign ministry had said that the jeweler could not have dual citizenship.

Choksi, the chairman of the Gitanjali Group had been granted citizenship of Antigua in 2018 and he had taken oath on January 15 last year.

Both Modi and Choksi fled the country fearing arrest. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 4 said it has attached a factory in Thailand worth over Rs 13 crore of a Gitanjali group company.

On January 29,2018, the CBI had filed a case against him and also probed his nephew Nirav Modi, who is also absconding after the PNB scam broke out.

Earlier in December 2018, he told the court that he would not be able to bear the 41-hour long journey to India from Antigua due to his poor health. However, in his written reply he had appraised the court of being part of the investigation through video conferencing.

He is wanted in India by the CBI and ED probing the fraud. India is trying to bring back Choksi from Antigua under the provision of a law of the island nation, which provides for the extradition of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.

ALSO READ: Nirav Modi Denies Returning To India, Terms PNB Scam A 'Civil Transaction'

Choksi escaped India in the first week of January 2018 after he and his companies cheated the bank. Choksi replied after the Red Corner notice was issued against him. He questioned the legality of ED's FIR claiming that his Passport has been revoked. Hence he is not joining the probe. Choksi also accused that media coverage of the scam is biased.