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Confident that Mehul Choksi would be handed over to India soon, say govt sources

DELHI, NEW DELHI: In the midst of ongoing efforts to extradite Mehul Choksi, sources said on Monday that the government is confident that the fugitive diamond diamantaire will be deported back to the country to face trial in the multi-billion dollar PNB loan fraud scam.

According to sources, the government’s legal team is closely monitoring the developments in Dominica involving Choksi. According to available data, 148 Indian nationals were deported from the United Kingdom between January 2018 and July 2019. These individuals were deported due to their illegal entry into the United Kingdom.

In addition to the foregoing, the UK immigration authorities and the Home Office have obtained Emergency Travel Documents from the High Commission of India ( HCI) for over 1574 additional Indian nationals who will be deported as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

According to government sources, the deportation data from July 2020 to the present is being awaited. In a related development, the fugitive diamantaire has revealed the names of his alleged kidnappers to Antiguan authorities.

According to Antigua News Room, Antigua police have launched an investigation into Mehul Choksi’s possible kidnapping from Antigua on May 23, 2021. Choksi’s lawyers, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, wrote to the Police Commissioner with the names of the people who allegedly kidnapped him.

According to the Antigua News Room, Browne stated that the police and government are taking the allegations seriously.

The Dominican court, which adjourned the matter of Choksi’s detention on Thursday, granted him interim relief from immediate repatriation to India. Choksi is accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam. The next hearing date has yet to be set, and the court proceedings are expected to take some time.

According to local media reports, his legal team colluded with opposition leaders to put pressure on the judiciary, which, rather than questioning Choksi’s illegal entry from Antigua to Dominica, believed his lawyers’ version of his kidnapping.

Reports about Choksi’s plan to flee to Cuba have also surfaced. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are charged in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud case.

Choksi fled the country and was granted Antigua and Barbuda citizenship in January 2018. He is embroiled in a legal battle to avoid extradition to India. Choksi went missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner, and he was quickly apprehended in Dominica.

He was charged with illegal entry by Dominican police after allegedly fleeing Antigua and Barbuda in an attempt to avoid extradition to India.

(With Additional Agency Inputs)

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