The CBI has written to authorities in Antigua seeking details on diamond merchant Mehul Choksi.
Choksi, who is wanted by the investigating agencies in the Punjab National Bank fraud case, has taken refuge in Antigua. “As a follow-up to the diffusion notice issued through the Interpol on our request, we have sought all possible information on Choksi from our counterparts in Antigua,” said an official.
The query has been sent after the Ministry of External Affairs received inputs that Mr. Choksi had shifted to Antigua from the United States. He fled the U.S. days before Indian agencies could initiate measures to secure his custody.
India does not have any bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance legal treaty with Antigua. However, as it is a member of the global anti money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force, its cooperation may be sought for his custody. India may also seek assistance under the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Mohul Choksi flew out of India in the first week of January, days before the CBI registered an FIR against him and others on a complaint from the bank. Both the CBI and the ED have filed charge sheets against Mr. Choksi before a Mumbai Special Court. Their request for a Red Notice is currently pending with the Interpol.
The Directorate has also invoked the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance against Mr. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi.
In other developments, the ED has requested the Interpol to issue Red Notice against eight other accused persons in the PNB case.
“The requests have been sent for the notice against Neerav Modi’s father Deepak Modi, brother Nehal, sister Purvi, her husband Mayank Mehta, close associate Adtiya Nanavati and others. The Red Notice has already been opened against Neerav Modi, his brother Neeshal and employee Subhash Parab,” an official said.
The ED has also got the court approval for initiating extradition proceedings against Mr. Modi, who was recently spotted in the United Kingdom.
Having filed the first charge sheets, the ED has moved applications in the Special Court seeking invocation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance against Mr. Modi and his uncle Mr. Choksi. A list of properties related to them in India, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirateshave also been submitted for confiscation orders if they did not comply with the court orders.