After months of pursuance, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has finally managed to extract a Red Corner Notice (RCN) from the Interpol for fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. The CBI was trying to get the RCN against Choksi for his role in the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud. The bureau had been trying for 6 months to get the RCN issued before it was finally issued on Thursday.
Interpol had earlier issued RCN against the other accused in the PNB scam including kingpin Nirav Modi, Neeshal Modi, Mihir Bhansali and Subhash Parab.
For the uninitiated, a Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant.
Top government sources told India Today that the Commission for the Control of Files (CCF) had raised India's concerns about the non-issuance of RCN against Choksi during the Interpol meeting in October. The CCF is an independent, impartial body that is officially responsible for ensuring that the processing of personal data by the Interpol General Secretariat conforms to the applicable Interpol rules.
CBI sources told India Today that they clarified all the queries of Interpol with regards to Mehul Choksi and that now the RCN has been issued, Choksi would be detained at the airport in case he tries to flee.
The issuance of RCN is also likely to mount pressure on Antigua to extradite him to India. An extradition request from the Government of India is already pending with the Antiguan government. Choksi was granted Antiguan citizenship in November last year - before news of the PNB scam broke through.