Businessman Mehul Choksi who is wanted by Indian agencies for a bank loan scam has got Antigua citizenship and it was granted after he was deemed “fit and proper candidate” for Antigua’s citizenship.
Citizenship By Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua has said that Mehul Choksi got the green light only after the Indian government agencies cleared him last year.
CIU said that ‘the police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Mr. Mehul Chinubbhai Choksi which would render him ineligible.’
Jewellers Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi did a bank loan fraud of Rs 13,500 crore in India and also escaped before law could take its own course in India.
Choksi bought Antigua citizenship as part of a Citizenship by Investment policy for which he may have paid around Rs 1.3 crore.
He left India in the first week of January and became a citizen of Antigua on January 15.
In response to queries regarding the Police Clearance Certificate issued to Mehul Choksi, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said:
“We have seen media reports on the issue. Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) was issued to Mehul Choksi by Passport Office, Mumbai, for Antigua and Barbuda on March 16, 2017. The PCC was issued on the basis of a clear Police Verification Report (PVR) available on his passport.
All Passport Issuing Authorities can issue a PCC if there is a clear Police Verification Report (PVR) in the system. In case there is no PVR, then a fresh PVR is obtained prior to issuance of a PCC.
As the PVR of Mehul Choksi was clear in the system at the time of issuance of PCC, the process followed by Passport Office, Mumbai was as per extant instructions.”
In short, Mehul Choksi was able to escape due to glitches in Indian system.