After his arrest in Dominica, authoities of the Carribean island nation said they are in touch with their counterparts in Antigua and Barbuda to ascertain certain details related to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, including status of his Antiguan citizenship. Once the required information is provided by Antiguan authorities, Choksi will be repatriated to Antigua and Barbuda, stated the Dominican Home Ministry.
"The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs confirms that Mehul Choksi, citizen of India and who is wanted by the Indian Authorities has been detained by law enforcement for illegal entry into Dominica. A red alert has also been issued by Interpol bearing Choksi's name. The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs is in communication with the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda to ascertain some facts including the status of his Antiguan Citizenship. Once the information is provided by the Antigua authorities, possible arrangements will be made for Mr. Mehul Choksi to be repatriated to Antigua," the official statement from the ministry read.
Choksi is one of the prime accussed in the Rs 14,700-crore PNB scam, along with his nephew Nirav Modi. While Modi is incarcerated in London and in contesting his extradition to India in UK courts, Chokis had been hiding in Antigua and Barbuda.
Choksi took the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 via the citizenship by investment route. He and Modi fled India in January 2018 before the scam could be brought into public light.
After someone from his household revealed that Choksi has been missing, the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda had started looking into the matter. A manhunt to find him was launched on Sunday last week. Interpol had been notified of the development; the international agency had in turn issued red alert against Choksi.
Choksi is facing two cases in Antigua and Barbuda - one is related to his extradition to India and the second one is revocation of his Antiguan citizenship.
Local media reports had said Choksi was last seen driving in the southern area of the island on Sunday. He was reportedly going for dinner at a well-known restaurant. Police had recovered his vehicle but were unable to trace him.
He was finally apprehended in Dominica on Wednesday. Following his arrest, the Antiguan PMO has asked Dominican government to treat Choksi as persona non grata and deport him directly to India for entering the country illegally. Persona non grata in diplomatic terms refers to situation where diplomatic immunity of an individual from arrest and persecution is revoked.