This could enable New Delhi to seek extradition of Choksi from Anti-gua under this already-existing arrangement.
New Delhi: Caribbean nation Antigua has told India it will fully cooperate in the matter of extradition of PNB scam-accused Mehul Choksi to India, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Thursday. Choksi is now a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. The assurance was furnished by foreign minister of Antigua & Barbuda Chet Greene to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj during their bilateral meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “EAM @SushmaSwaraj met the foreign minister of Antigua & Barbuda Chet Greene on the sidelines of #UNGA. Mr Greene conveyed to EAM the assurances of his Prime Minister for the fullest cooperation of their government in the matter of extradition of Mehul Choksi to India.”
The assurance was furnished after Ms Swaraj raised the issue (India’s request for extradition of Mehul Choksi) with Mr Greene on Wednesday evening (New York time). India had earlier handed over a request to Antigua for extradition of Choksi, who had earlier obtained citizenship of the Caribbean country.
Antigua is examining India’s request for extradition of Choksi, with New Delhi saying in August that an “extradition arrangement” already exists between the two countries as per the extradition acts of the two countries.
The Indian governme-nt’s position is that there is already an existing facility between India and Antigua that “constitutes an extradition arrangement between India and (A&B) Antigua and Barbuda under their (Antiguan) Extradition Act of 1993” which “provides the legal basis for extraditing offenders from each other’s jurisdiction”.
On August 3, New Delhi had quietly issued a gazette notification that the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1962, “shall apply with respect to Antigua and Barbuda with effect from 2001 i.e. when Antigua & Barbuda notified India as Desig-nated Commonwealth Co-untry under the provision of its own Extradition Act”. This could enable New Delhi to seek extradition of Choksi from Anti-gua under this already-existing arrangement.
As per Antigua’s own Extradition Act of 1993, “a fugitive may be extradited to a Designated Common-wealth Country or a State with which there are general or special arrangement or a bilateral treaty”.