Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Tuesday said that no reliable source had confirmed fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi has gone missing from the country. The PM assured that if he has managed to flee, his citizenship would be revoked.
“Mehul Choksi has two cases to fight here. We have no reliable information to confirm that he has fled the country. It’s likely that he may still be here and law agencies are utilizing all efforts to locate him. In the event that he would have fled the country, we will revoke his citizenship. If he did as speculated, aircraft with any flight plan or any passenger with Choksi’s name would have been found by the airport authority,” Browne was quoted as saying by Antigua media.
Choksi, wanted in a Rs 13,500 crore loan fraud in Punjab National Bank, has reportedly gone missing in Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since January 2018, his lawyer and the Royal Police Force of the Caribbean island nation said.
Along with the 61-year-old, his nephew Nirav Modi is too wanted in the case. While Modi is in a London prison after repeated denial of bail and is contesting extradition to India, Choksi had taken the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme, before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.
The businessman was last seen on Sunday in his car. Police recovered the vehicle after a search but Choksi could not be found, a statement from the Antiguan police said on Monday night India time. His lawyer Vijay Aggarwal confirmed that Choksi has been missing since Sunday. “Police in Antigua have started search operations for him. The family is worried about his safety. We are keeping a watch on developments,” Aggarwal told.