Home » Mehul Choksi, a Fugitive Wanted in Multi-Crore PNB Fraud Will be Extradited : CBI

Mehul Choksi, a Fugitive Wanted in Multi-Crore PNB Fraud Will be Extradited : CBI

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Mar 24:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has clarified that Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, a fugitive wanted in multi-crore rupees PNB fraud, will be extradited and  an  INTERPOL Red Notice is not a requirement for extradition proceedings.
Choksi is a key accused in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case. He fled India in January 2018, days before the CBI booked him and his nephew Nirav Modi in the case. He had by then acquired the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, and is since fighting the Indian government’s efforts to bring him back to the country.
A five member chamber of the Commission for Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) took the decision on deletion of Red Notice, communicated in November, 2022, based on mere imaginary conjunctures and unproven surmises of Choksi, the CBI statement read.
The CBI has taken up with CCF, the serious shortcomings and over reach of mandate in reaching this unfounded and perfunctory decision and the CBI continues to exercise available remedial and appellate options within INTERPOL for rectification of this faulty decision and to restore the Red Notice. The CCF is a separate body within INTERPOL, not under the control of INTERPOL Secretariat and is mainly staffed by elected lawyers from different countries. the statement added.
An INTERPOL Red Notice is neither a pre requisite nor a requirement for extradition proceedings. The Global Operations Centre of CBI continues to closely monitor movements of wanted criminals like Choksi, in direct coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies and not reliant only on INTERPOL channels.
Even Antigua authorities consider that there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that Choksi  concealed material facts and made false representation when he applied for his Antigua and Barbuda citizenship, the CBI  pointed out.
Extradition request made by India is under active consideration before authorities in Antigua and Barbuda and remains un-impacted by Red notice. The CBI remains committed to return of fugitives and criminals to India to face process of criminal justice. Systematic steps have been initiated in close coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies for geo-locating and return of wanted criminals and economic offenders. In the last 15 months, over 30 wanted criminals have returned to India, the statement read.
A case was registered against Choksi and others on February 15,.2018 for defrauding Punjab National Bank. CBI filed two charge-sheets against under sections 120-B read with sections 409, 420, 477A, 201 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 7 & 13 (2) read with sections 13(1)(c)&(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. In 2022, the CBI registered five more criminal cases against Choksi and others for defrauding banks and financial institutions.
CBI as National Central Bureau for INTERPOL issued a diffusion to locate absconding Choksi in February 2018. The movements of the criminal were tracked by CBI in direct coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies and he was geo-located to Antigua and Barbuda. The request for his extradition was sent through diplomatic channels to competent authorities of Antigua and Barbuda in August, 2018.
In the same year Choksi approached the CCF making a request for non-publication of Red Notice. The CCF dismissed his representation after consulting the CBI and INTERPOL published a Red Notice in December 2018. Choksi was already located  prior to publication of INTERPOL Red Notice and steps were  initiated for his extradition. Although the primary purpose of Red Notice was achieved, the same was retained as a precautionary measure.
In 2019, Choksi approached the CCF seeking removal of Red Notice from INTERPOL’s website. CCF consulted CBI and based on inputs and dismissed his plea again in 2020. Then Choksi again approached the CCF with concocted dramatic stories in July, 2022 to revise its earlier decision of 2020. Then the CCF took decision on deletion of Red Notice.

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