PNB Fraud : Mehul Choksi Given Police Clearance By India – Antigua
The fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi who is wanted in the PNB fraud case had been granted the citizenship of Antigua. Antiguan agency Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has now claimed that the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) had given a positive report on Mehul Choksi, based on which he was granted citizenship in their country.
“Mehul Choksi’s application was received by the CIU in May 2017 with the necessary documentary requirements, including a police clearance certificate as required by section 5 (2)(b) of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act 2013,” reads a press release by the CIU.
“The said police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Mehul Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including a visa for Antigua and Barbuda,” it said.
Choksi was given citizenship by Antigua in November 2017. The CIU also claims, “Choksi’s application was subjected to stringent background checks which included open source internet checks, Thompson Reuters World-Check, queries of various sanctions lists, engagement with regional and international intelligence agencies to include INTERPOL as well as the contracted 3rd party due to diligence providers. It was only after the results of all of these checks had been received and assessed that a final decision was taken on the application. In no instance was any derogatory information disclosed about the applicant.”
Choksi who is on the run after the PNB (Punjab National Bank) fraud of nearly Rs. 14,000 crore cannot be deported to India as he is now the citizen of Antigua and it would be difficult to revoke Choksi’s citizenship for it entails a legal process. The Prime minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne, has said that his hands are tied in the matter.
The SEBI has however denied it received any request for details about Choksi in connection with the process that grants him the Antiguan citizenship.