Antigua PM Gaston Browne has agreed to revoke the citizenship of PNB scam kingpin Mehul Choksi after pressure from India. PM Browne also said that he would be repatriated to India and Antigua was not trying to provide any safe harbor for criminals.
"Choksi's citizenship was processed, he got through. We do have recourse, the reality is that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported to India. It's not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes," said PM Browne.
The leader said in a statement that once Choksi has exhausted his legal options, he will be extradited to India. "Presently the matter is before the court, so we have to allow for due process. We have conveyed the Indian government that criminals also have fundamental rights and Choksi has a right to go to court to defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited," he said in a statement.
The fugitive diamantaire had taken citizenship of Antigua in November 2017 and oath of allegiance on January 15 the next year. Following the row on his citizenship, Choksi said that he had "lawfully applied" to be a citizen of the Caribbean country.
"During the course of my application, I did all that was lawfully required of me to do," he had said in a statement. He had also mentioned that his citizenship in the country was motivated by his aim to expand his business interest in the Caribbean. Choksi had further said that he wanted to obtain visa-free travel access to 130 or so countries.
Passport holder of Antigua and Barbuda can enjoy visa-free travel to around 132 countries including the UK, Singapore and countries in the Schengen area that cover almost all of Europe.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)