New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) India can seek the extradition of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi even without issuance of a Red Corner Notice (RCN) from the Interpol as his location has been revealed, the CBI has informed the Ministry of External Affairs, sources said on Monday.
A Central Bureau of Investigation source told IANS: “The CBI has informed the MEA, which is communicating with the Antiguan government that it can seek the extradition of Choksi even without the issuance of an RCN against him from the Interpol.”
The source said since the location and nationality of Choksi is already known, he should be arrested or detained there.
According to the source, the Indian government in its request also informed the Antiguan goverenment that if Choksi moves out to any of the countries, then the host countries would also seek clarification from Antigua as he is travelling on their passport.
Earlier this month, the CBI, which is probing the Rs 13,500-crore banking fraud allegedly committed by the diamond jeweller and his nephew Nirav Modi, has communicated to the MEA that it has already written to its counterpart agency in Antigua for the provisional arrest of Choksi.
In its request to the Home Ministry, the CBI said Choksi’s extradition was being sought “on grounds of principle of reciprocity and dual criminality”.
India and Antigua are signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a multilateral treaty negotiated by the member-states of the United Nations and promoted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the CBI pointed out in its request.
The source also revealed that the Gitanjali group owner has also appealed to the Interpol to not issue an RCN against him alleging that the charges against him are politically motivated and the condition of the Indian jails are very poor.
The Interpol, after receiving Choksi’s plea, sought the CBI’s reply. The CBI in its reply has denied all allegations levelled by Choksi.
Choksi is said to have fled India on an Indian passport in the first week of January 2018. The Antiguan government is believed to have cleared his application for citizenship in November 2017, for which he may have paid around Rs 1.3 crore.
Choksi had taken the oath of allegiance as a citizen of Antigua on January 15 this year. Days later, on January 29, the CBI filed a case and started investigating Choksi and Nirav Modi.