Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin has said that he is planning to discuss the possible extradition of fugitive diamantaire and Punjab National Bank (PNB) accused Mehul Choksi with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong.
“We expect the DPP back shortly, if not by tomorrow, then certainly by Monday and as soon as he returns I intend to meet with him so we can [discuss] this extradition matter,” Benjamin was quoted by OBSERVER media on Thursday, citing Antigua Observer.
As per a press release by the Prime Minister’s Office of Antigua and Barbuda, Indian High Commissioner in Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam, who is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda, had visited St. John’s for the third time in recent weeks to meet with officials to discuss Choksi’s extradition.
The high-ranking diplomat met with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and handed another extradition application with modified charges to the country’s prime minister. He was assured that the matter would be taken up and the documents would be given to the DPP, who is currently abroad.
Browne reiterated his government’s full cooperation with the Indian authorities on the matter but added that a certain procedure was to be followed.
Earlier this week, the Antigua and Barbuda government reiterated that it would fully cooperate regarding Choksi’s arrest, but stated that it would not succumb to pressure from the Indian government in the matter.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through the Ministry of External Affairs, had written a letter to Antigua, asking them to arrest the fugitive diamantaire.
The multi-crore scam was detected by the PNB officials earlier this year, after Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of two billion dollars, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
India has been trying hard to bring back Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda under the provision of a law of the island nation, which provides for extradition of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.