NEW DELHI: In a big blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to wipe out corruption from India, absconding Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud accused Mehul Choksi, who is wanted by investigating agencies for loan fraud, has given up his Indian citizenship by surrendering his passport to the Antiguan government.
Sources told Zee News that Choksi has also submitted USD 177 with his passport to the Indian High Commission in Antigua. The new address mentioned by Choksi is Jolly Harbour Marks Antigua.
It is to be noted that Choksi, 59, had been living in Antigua for over a year now. On December 25, 2018, Choksi had told a court that he cannot return to India to face probe for loan fraud because his 'poor health' will not allow him to undertake a 41-hour long journey from Antigua to India.
Choksi, however, submitted a written reply before the court, saying that he was willing to join the investigation through video conferencing. Choksi had also accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of not sharing the details of his health condition with the court only to mislead the whole investigation.
Choksi is accused of cheating state-run PNB to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore in alleged collusion with his nephew Nirav Modi. The billionaire diamantaire escaped to Antigua in the first week of January 2018.
On January 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in an interview to ANI that defaulters will not be spared and his government will bring them back to India.
“Those who fled during this government, they will be brought back, today or tomorrow. Diplomatic channels, legal courses, and seizure of properties being done. Those who have stolen India’s money, they will have to compensate for each and every penny,'' he had said.
For his part, Choksi has always maintained that the charges against him are false.