PNB scam: Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi goes missing in Antigua, may have fled to Cuba; probe launched

 PNB scam: Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi goes missing in Antigua, may have fled to Cuba; probe launched

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Local media in Antigua quoted his close aide Govin as saying that Choksi has shifted base to Cuba as India does not have an extradition treaty with Cuba

NEW DELHI

Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the Rs 12,000 crore PNB scam has reportedly gone missing from Antigua where he had taken shelter after fleeing from India. According to a reports, the fugitive businessman may have fled to Cuba fearing extradition to India.

“That’s what I am hearing but I am yet to get a confirmation,” the publication quoted a highly placed source in the government as saying. Also, local media in Antigua quoted his close aide Govin as saying that Choksi has shifted base to Cuba as India does not have an extradition treaty with Cuba.

Worth mentioning here is that Antigua and Barbuda have been seriously pursuing Mehul Choksi’s extradition in the court of law. On Monday, the island’s prime Minister gaston Browne spoke to PM Narendra Modi.

Antiguan police have already launched a manhunt after he was rumored to have become untraceable under suspicious circumstances. Later, the police found his empty car near a restaurant in the southern part of the island. The fugitive businessman had gone to the restaurant for dinner on Sunday evening and was not seen since then. Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal also confirmed the reports.

The ToI report citing local media mentioned that he was seen by residents driving in the Jolly Harbour area, where his car was found, on Sunday evening. Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney was quoted in the local media as saying that the police are following up on the whereabouts of the 63-year-old Indian businessman. The cops also sought help from the public to trace Choksi.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning off over $2 billion of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking.

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.

Agencies

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