Trying to avoid extradition, PNB scam-accused Mehul Choksi surrenders Indian passport in Antigua: Reports

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Jan 21, 2019, 02:06 PM(IST)

File photo: Mehul Choksi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

Choksi is one of the main accused — the other being his nephew Nirav Modi — in the over Rs 13,000 crore Punjab and National Bank scam. Choksi has surrendered 

The fugitive Indian businessman Mehul Choksi has surrendered his Indian passport to the Antiguan government, news reports said Monday morning. 

Choksi is one of the main accused — the other being his nephew Nirav Modi — in the over Rs 13,000 crore Punjab and National Bank scam. 

Choksi fled to Antigua in January 2018 and has been living there since. 

He had in December last year told a Mumbai court that he cannot return to India for questioning.

Choksi said his "poor health" would not allow him to undertake the 41-hour flight from Antigua to India. He had however consented to being questioned via video conferencing. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on January 1 this year that defaulters will not be spared and that his government will bring them back to India. 

“Those who fled during this government, they will be brought back, today or tomorrow. Diplomatic channels, legal courses, and seizure of properties being done. Those who have stolen India’s money, they will have to compensate for each and every penny,'' Modi said. 

News reports said Monday that Choksi had deposited his passport — with the number Z3396732 — and the mandatory $177 required for the giving up Indian citizenship with the Antiguan authorities. 

Choksi, it is suspected, is looking to avoid being extradited to India by taking up Antiguan citizenship. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for February 22 in Antigua. 

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Home Minister Rajnath Singh reacted to the alleged development, telling ANI that: "Our government has passed Fugitive Economic Offenders bill. Those who have fled will be brought back. It might take some time but they all will be brought back." 

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