India sends official extradition request to Antigua Government

India sends official extradition request to Antigua Government

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The government is waiting on the return of Anthony Armstrong, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to determine their next step in the Mehul Choksi case.
Last Friday, a special envoy arrived from India via the United States with a 700 page document, requesting the extradition of the embattled Indian diamond trader who now holds Antigua and Barbuda citizenship.
Government Chief of Staff, Lionel Hurst tells ZDK the Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin spent the entire day on Saturday reviewing the document.
The Government Chief of Staff, Lionel Hurst says the government of Antigua and Barbuda will have to await the arrival of the Director of Public Prosecutions who is currently on vacation.
He says Anthony Armstrong is the only one who can determine whether the extradition request can be fulfilled.
He reminded though that Mehul Choksi through his lawyer David Dorset has already taken preemptive measures by asking for a declaration from the High Court to prevent his extradition on the grounds that he is now a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and so the laws of the land which guide a citizen should apply to him.
The laws quoted by the attorney were Section 119.1 of the Constitution a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and Section 5 of the 1993 Extradition Act under which India and the government of Antigua and Barbuda do not have an agreement.
In the absence of extradition arrangements between these Governments, the attorney argued that his client was not liable to be detained for purposes of expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal at the request of the Indian Government.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi remains in Antigua recovering from medical treatment which he received in the United States in July.
In January of 2018, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) filed a police complaint against Mehul Choksi, his nephew Nirav Modi, and others, saying they had colluded with two of the bank’s staff to defraud the bank of 2.81 billion rupees or (U.S. $43.16 million).
Choski has since denied the allegations made against him, saying there is no truth to these allegations.
This is not the first time that Choksi has denied wrongdoing. In February of this year he reportedly wrote an open letter to employees of Gitanjali Gems – of which he was a sight holder- protesting his innocence and telling them to look for other jobs.
Media in India are reporting that the billionaire allegedly planned his escape to Antigua long before the scandal broke but Choksi later rebutted saying that his application to seek citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda was motivated by his desire to expand his business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa-free travel access to over 130 countries.