Most wanted Indian fugitive diamond trader Mehul Chokshi has been reported missing from Antigua and Barbuda as per his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal. He is accused of allegedly perpetrating a bank fraud worth Rs 13,600 crore on Punjab National Bank.
Few sources from Antigua and Barbuda have suspected that Chokshi may have fled to Cuba to prevent his extradition as India doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Cuba.
“Mr Mehul Choksi is missing. His family members are worried and anxious and had called me to discuss. Antigua police are investigating. Family is in the dark and worried about his safety,” told advocate Vijay Aggarwal.
As per sources, Chokshi left his home on Monday evening for dinner at a restaurant in the southern part of the island. He has been missing since then and only his vehicle was found outside the restaurant.
Mr Chokshi is under the scanner of multiple investigation agencies including CBI, ED, and SFIO. He had left India in 2018 just a day before the scam came to everyone’s notice.
He has been staying there in Antigua since then and has acquired citizenship there under the ‘citizenship by investment programme’ of the island’s government.
Last year, Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that they will revoke his citizenship once all his legal options had been exhausted. He also made it clear that his country – among many tax havens in the Caribbean – will not provide safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes.
He is facing charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering. He has been fighting extradition from the island in the Antigua courts.
A red notice was issued against him by global police body Interpol under which they will be alerted if he entered any immigration point anywhere in the world.
Chokshi’s nephew Nirav Modi is also wanted in the PNB Scam and has been fighting his from the United Kingdom. His extradition was cleared by the British government last month. However, he can still challenge his extradition in the UK High Court.