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Mehul Choksi gives up Indian citizenship

January 21, 2019 21:44 IST

Choksi is wanted in India by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which are probing the PNB fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country. India continues to pursue Choksi's return with the government of Antigua through diplomatic and legal channels.

Bank fraud fugitive Mehul Choksi has surrendered his Indian passport to the High Commission in Guyana, official sources said on Monday.

Choksi, one of the alleged masterminds of the $2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and an uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, took citizenship of Antigua in 2018.

 

Indian citizens are expected to surrender their passports when they acquire a foreign nationality.

India continues to pursue Choksi's return with the government of Antigua through diplomatic and legal channels, the sources said.

In August last year, India handed over Antigua a request for Choksi's extradition.

A team from India was also sent to Antigua to pursue the request.

Choksi is wanted in India by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which are probing the PNB fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country.

Sources indicated that Choksi himself came to the high commission in Guyana to surrender his Indian passport.

He had fled India on January 4 last year and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15.

The CBI had sent its request to the Ministry of External Affairs for extradition of Choksi.

Choksi's application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local authorities in Mumbai, Antiguan newspaper the Daily Observer had reported, citing a statement from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua and Barbuda (CIU).

Under the Citizenship by Investment Program of Antigua and Barbuda, a person can take their passport on a minimum investment of $100,000 in the NDF investment fund.

Choksi and his companies allegedly availed of credit from overseas branches of Indian banks using the fraudulent guarantees of PNB given through letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of credit issued by the Brady House branch which were not repaid, bringing liability on the state-run bank.

An LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant.

Photograph: PTI Photo

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