In a setback to the government's efforts to bring back fugitive Mehul Choksi from Antigua to face trial in the multi-crore PNB scam case, the Interpol has removed the Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him. This means that Choksi will be free to travel outside Antigua without fearing arrest or questioning.
The last time Choksi found himself on the verge of being extradited or deported to India was when he was found in Dominica on May 25, 2021—allegedly battered and bruised after a rough boat ride from Antigua and Barbuda. The fugitive diamantaire from the Carribean is still reeling from the experience. But the Interpol decision has given a shot in the arm to Choksi who is likely to use this to counter the claims of the CBI and ED who are demanding his speedy extradition from Antigua.
A spokesperson for Choksi said that the decision of the Interpol to strike his name off the RCN, buttresses his claim that he was kidnapped and was being forcefully taken to India, allegedly violating the international norms and protection given to him as an Antiguan citizen.
“The report from the Antiguan police, and the evidence adduced by Choksi in the ongoing High Court proceedings in Antigua, point to an alarming case of state orchestrated kidnap, torture and attempted rendition by the Indian government,” said Choksi’s spokesperson.
“The decision of Interpol to delete the Red Notice strengthens these concerns,” the spokesperson said. He further said that the preliminary ruling of the High Court in Antigua demonstrates that there is a case to answer for a full investigation. In turn, Choksi has presented a compelling case that the Indian government is behind the orchestrated kidnap from Antiguan territory, his torture and the attempt to render him to India in breach of the international rule of law,” he said.
The Interpol has made it clear that it does not issue RCNs unless there is substantial evidence and does not include persecution by the state on any religious or political lines.
Choksi is one of the main accused in the multi-crore PNB scam case in which his nephew Nirav Modi is in jail in London where he faces the possibility of extradition soon after he has exhausted his legal options to claim asylum in the UK.