No Reliable Information That Mehul Choksi Has Fled, Says Antigua PM

Mehul Choksi had taken the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 (File).

New Delhi:

Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, needed in a Rs 13,500 crore mortgage fraud in Punjab National Bank, has gone lacking in Antigua and Barbuda the place he has been staying since January 2018, his lawyer and the Royal Police Force of the Caribbean island nation mentioned.

The nation’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has mentioned he has “no reliable information till date” that Mr Choksi has fled the nation and it was very probably that he was nonetheless in Antigua and Barbuda.

In a press release to the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Browne mentioned authorities have been “collaborating” with the Indian authorities, neighbouring nations and worldwide police organisation to try to find Mr Choksi.

“Someone from his household indicated that he is missing. Since then, Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda put out a statement to that effect. That statement will be shared with the Interpol,” he mentioned.

Mr Browne mentioned Mr Choksi has two circumstances towards him in courts of Antigua and Barbuda — extradition and revocation of citizenship — for which he has introduced in a celebrated lawyer from the United Kingdom to signify him and this confirmed his willingness to remain and contest the circumstances.

“I do not believe that law enforcement or anyone would have contemplated Mr Choksi would have fled the country. In any case we do not have any reliable information to date that he has fled the country. It is likely he may be still here and law enforcement is utilising all the efforts including all intelligence to try and locate Mr Choksi,” he mentioned.

Prime Minister Browne additionally downplayed “speculation” that Mr Choksi had fled to Cuba as no plane with a flight plan having him as passenger has left the nation, leaving the one possibility of travelling by boat. It is “unlikely” that he had reached Cuba in 36 hours by boat, he mentioned.

“Law enforcement continuing to collaborate with regional and international police so he is located just in case he has absconded. I maintain Mr Speaker that we do not have any reliable information to date that he has absconded,” Mr Browne mentioned in his assertion to the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda.

The businessman was final seen on Sunday in his automotive. Police recovered the car after a search however Mr Choksi couldn’t be discovered, a press release from the Antiguan police mentioned on Monday night time India time.

His lawyer Vijay Aggarwal confirmed that Mr Choksi has been lacking since Sunday.

“Police in Antigua have started search operations for him. The family is worried about his safety. We are keeping a watch on developments,” Mr Aggarwal instructed PTI on Tuesday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing allegations towards Mr Choksi, is verifying the experiences by means of “formal and informal” channels, together with the Interpol that has issued a crimson nook discover towards him on a request from the company, officers right here mentioned.

The assertion from the Antiguan police, which launched a lacking individual operation on Sunday, carries {a photograph} of the businessman and seeks info from the general public.

“The police are investigating a Missing Person Report made of 62-year-old Mehul Choksi of Jolly Harbour. Mehul was reported missing on Sunday 23rd May 2021 at the Johnson Point Police Station,” it mentioned.

Antiguanewsroom, a neighborhood media outlet, quoted Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney as saying that the police is “following up on the whereabouts of Indian businessman Mehul Choksi”, who’s “rumoured” to be lacking.

The media experiences mentioned Mr Choksi, who had taken citizenship of the island nation, was seen driving within the southern space of the island on Sunday.

Mr Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are needed for allegedly siphoning Rs 13,500 crore of public cash from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) utilizing letters of enterprise.

While Mr Modi is in a London jail after being repeatedly denied bail and is contesting his extradition to India, Mr Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 utilizing the Citizenship by Investment programme earlier than fleeing India within the first week of January 2018. The rip-off got here to mild subsequently.

Both are dealing with a CBI probe.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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