New Delhi ‘will take all steps to bring back Mehul Choksi’

The response of the Ministry of External Affairs came shortly before it became known that Mr. Choksi is likely to remain in custody in Dominica for a few weeks more as the next hearing is expected to be around July 1.

India will make “all efforts” to bring back fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi from Dominica, where he is facing a case in a court over alleged illegal entry into the island.

The response of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came shortly before it became known that Mr. Choksi is likely to remain in custody in Dominica for a few weeks more as the next hearing is expected to be around July 1.

“India remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure that fugitives are brought back to face justice. Regarding the specific case of Mehul Choksi, we understand that he is in the custody of the authorities and certain legal proceedings are under way. We will continue to make all efforts to ensure he is brought back to India,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank and the State Bank of India of ₹13,500 crore, Mr. Choksi fled to Antigua and Barbuda in 2018 and took citizenship there.

Meanwhile, Antigua PM Gaston Browne continued to distance his country from the fugitive.

“The preference of the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda is for Mr. Choksi to be repatriated to India from Dominica,” said Mr. Browne in a statement even as the court hearing continued at Dominica where the diamond trader argued that he was abducted from Antigua and should be returned there.

Mr. Browne had argued that the return of Mr. Choksi would draw Antigua into the problem once again. “If he finds himself in Antigua, the problem reverts to Antigua and Barbuda,” said Mr. Browne, seeking repatriation of Mr. Choksi to India.

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