mehul Choksi
Mehul ChoksiIANS

A key accused in the Rs 13,500 Punjab National Bank fraud case, Mehul Choksi, is a "crook" and will be extradited to India after he exhausts his appeals, said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne in New York.

"Got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi is a crook, he does not add value to our country. He will be deported ultimately after he exhausts appeals. Indian officials are free to investigate based on his willingness to participate," Browne told ANI.

He added that Choksi has several appeals and the country cannot do anything until they get exhausted.

"He will be extradited back to India to face whatever charges against him. It is just a matter of time," said the Antigua and Barbuda PM.

He said it was "unfortunate" that the Indian officials cleared Choksi as a person in "good standing". "Indian officials will have to take responsibility for that situation," he added.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly defrauding PNB. The fraud had come to light in 2018. Both the accused are absconding since the case was registered

The Antiguan government had in June agreed to revoke the citizenship of fugitive businessman. 

"His citizenship was processed; he got through but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It's not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes," Browne had said in a statement.