Opposition leader in Antigua slams govt for requesting ‘direct extradition’ of Mehul Choksi to India

A outstanding opposition leader in Antigua and Barbuda has criticised the federal government for requesting the handing over of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, who was held in Dominica on May 26, immediately to India, saying it’s in abeyance to the Antiguan legal guidelines.

Choksi, who is needed in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank rip-off and had gone lacking for some days in Antigua and Barbuda, was traced and arrested in Dominica, an island nation in the Caribbean. Choksi is a citizen of Antigua primarily based on the citizenship by funding program.

Harold Lovell, a leader of United Progressive Party (Antigua and Barbuda) and a former Cabinet minister, mentioned in accordance to the Antiguan legal guidelines, their residents can’t be extradited to one other nation.

Lovell mentioned Choksi may have to be repatriated to Antigua and Barbuda from Dominica, the place he’s presently held. “Although we are not on the side of Mehul Choksi, he is a citizen of Antigua and as such enjoys certain rights. There are cases against him and he should be tried for those after which a decision on extradition can be taken,” he mentioned.

Earlier, talking to India Today TV, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne had mentioned, “We have asked the Dominican government to detain him for entering their country illegally, to make him persona non grata and have him deported directly to India.”

Read: India may have to wait longer to bring back Mehul Choksi, top official to visit Dominica next week

Lovell additionally alleged that Prime Minister Browne has not carried out the appropriate process to search extradition of Choksi beneath Antiguan legal guidelines regardless of a request pending from India. He additional mentioned that India’s request for extradition is in abeyance.

On Choksi’s charges that he was abducted, the Opposition leader mentioned he could not have gone on a ship, illegally entered Dominica and be the one one to be arrested.

“What about the others who were involved, the captain of the ship? How come no one else has been arrested? While investigations are still underway, it does seem like a cover up,” he mentioned, with out clearly talking who could possibly be concerned.

Raising objection over PM Browne’s feedback that Choksi could be protected by regulation, Lovell mentioned the PM says Choksi is a citizen however he may have to face the regulation.

He additional mentioned that by directing Dominica to ship Choksi to India, the citizenship by funding programme comes to be questioned since those that have taken citizenship by means of this might not really feel protected.

Lovell additionally denied accusations by the ruling celebration that there was any connection of Choksi with the Opposition.

Meanwhile, Choksi’s advocate Vijay Aggarwal has welcomed the assertion by Lovell. “My client is a human being not some pawn who can be just put in any square in the game of chess as per anybody’s desire or on anybody’s statement. My stand is vindicated and I am filled with gratitude and appreciation seeing the statement of United Progressive Party Antigua ,recognising that Antigua ought to protect the rights of every citizen. My client Mr Mehul Choksi is citizen of Antigua and is entitled to all constitutional protections under Antiguan constitution and is entitled to all remedies available to him under law which he has even successfully availed,” he mentioned.

Mehul Choksi had been staying in Antigua and Barbuda since January 2018. He is dealing with two circumstances in Antigua and Barbuda. One offers together with his extradition to India and the opposite issues revocation of his citizenship.

(With inputs by Arvind Ojha)

Also Read: Arrest of Mehul Choksi opens up extradition debate on top fugitives

Also Watch: ‘Mehul Choksi was tortured, abducted,’ alleges his lawyer

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