Antigua refuses to take Mehul Choksi back after he fled the island and was found in Dominica. India is using its diplomatic channels to bring the fugitive jeweler back.
Mehul Choksi, the fugitive Indian entrepreneur, had disappeared from Antigua on Sunday evening. He had reportedly tried to flee to Cuba and was found in Dominica, another Caribbean Island. Choksi has been living in Antigua since 2017, after leaving India.
Antiguan government has asked Dominica to repatriate Choksi directly to India. The Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne told the local media that his government has asked Dominica to send Choksi back to India. He further clarified that under no circumstances would his country take the fugitive back.
India's home ministry shares positive ties with Dominica. Recently one lakh covid vaccines were supplied to Dominica, free of cost. This was a part of the Indian government's "Vaccine Maitri" initiative. This has empowered India to use diplomatic channels to bring Choksi back.
On Sunday evening, Choksi had left home to go to a well-known restaurant in the southern part of the island and disappeared. The local police later found him in Dominica, an island 101 nautical miles from Antigua. He is currently under the custody of the Crime Investigation Department, Dominica.
According to CBI, Choksi was fighting a couple of cases in Antigua. One was regarding his citizenship there, and the other was about his extradition to India. He had taken Antiguan citizenship after fleeing India in 2017.
The Antiguan government has labeled Mehul Choksi's attempt to flee as a "monumental mistake." The Prime Minister has refused to take him back by stating, "We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges leveled against him,".
The Indian Jurisdiction Authorities want Mehul Choksi, 62, for committing several kinds of fraud. These include criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, dishonesty including delivery of property, money laundering, and corruption. He had allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank of ₹13,578 crores along with his nephew, Nirav Modi, and fled India.