Search on in Antigua for Indian accused of fraud

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Police say they are searching for Indian-born Antiguan and Barbudan citizen, Mehul Choksi, who was reported missing Sunday.

Media reports said that the 62-year-old diamond mogul, who is accused of defrauding India’s Punjab National Bank, was last seen on Sunday afternoon leaving his home in a motor car. There were also media reports he may have fled the country.

The car has since been found, but there has been no sign of Choksi despite what police say have been several searches carried out by law enforcement officers.

Investigators are asking people here for assistance in locating Choksi, who is brown in complexion, five feet six inches tall with a receding hairline.

Choksi, who was granted citizenship here under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI), is wanted by the Indian judicial authorities for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering.

Indian authorities want him extradited to face the charges which he denies.

The Antiguan and Barbuda Government is cooperating with its Indian counterpart to have Choksi extradited.

“I can assure you that he (Choksi) will be ultimately deported after exhausting all his appeals. He will be extradited back to India to face whatever charges against him. It is just a matter of time,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

The Government has also announced plans to revoke Choksi’s citizenship.

The Observer Radio here quoted one of Choksi’s lawyers as saying that he had been informed by the police that they were searching for his former client.

But the lawyer, who was not identified in the news report, said someone had filed a missing person report and that he had not seen or spoken to his former client for several weeks and was no longer representing him.

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