Minister of Information Melford Nicholas says that Mehul Choksi has to be returned to Antigua and Barbuda when he is removed from Dominica.
His comments are at odds with those made earlier this week by Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Browne had told an Indian news agency that his wish is for Choksi to be sent directly to India, and not returned here, where he has legal and constitutional rights.
However, Nicholas admitted at the post-Cabinet press conference held this morning, May 28, that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda cannot legally prohibit the Indian man from returning to this country.
Asked whether Choksi has any business interests here, Nicholas said he is not aware of it.
Meanwhile, Nicholas is confirming that Choksi’s claims of being abducted from Antigua on Sunday, May 23, are being investigated vigorously by law-enforcement officials here and in Dominica.
Choksi became a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda through the Citizenship by Investment Programme in 2017 and moved here in January 2018.
It was shortly thereafter that news broke in India that he and his nephew, Nirav Modi, were wanted in that country for defrauding the government-run Punjab National Bank of billions of dollars.
Nicholas says that when Choksi made the application for citizenship, there was no international warrant out for his arrest; hence, due diligence would not have picked up on the accusations against him.
Minister of Information Melford Nicholas. Going forward, Nicholas says, the Government and the Cabinet will have no alternative but to act within the context of the law and the determination of the courts.