mehul choksi

Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. (IANS file photo)

NEW DELHI — Government sources have indicated to IANS that they are relentlessly pursuing four quarries — Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Jatin Mehta — all economic offenders and fugitives from the law.

In each case, a carefully calibrated strategy is in place to bring the culprits to book, and more importantly, home. A major breakthrough is expected shortly, in the middle of the elections.

While Nirav Modi and Mallya are ensconced in Britain and the local criminal justice system is in their pursuit, the Indian government is trying all the necessary tactics to bring both diamantaires Choksi and Mehta back from the Caribbean islands.

Government-to government negotiations are on with Antigua and Barbuda for Choksi and St Kitts and Nevis for Winsome Diamonds' Mehta. Availing of the controversial paid citizenship program provided by many of the islands in the Caribbean, diamantaire Mehul Choksi and Winsome Diamonds' promoter Jatin Mehta have taken citizenship in these parts.

Mehta became a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis some years ago while Choksi took Antigua and Barbuda citizenship recently. These islands provide visa-free travel to 132 countries.

Citizenship through investment has become popular among Indian economic offenders. Investigating agency sources also revealed that Choksi and Mehta are the principal targets of this exercise.

The government-to-government communication revolves around securing both targets through extradition, which is difficult because there are no extradition treaties with these countries.

Mehul Choksi may be picked up in the Caribbean, while Nirav Modi remains under arrest in London.

The lack of extradition treaties has made these islands a safe haven for India's uber rich.

Other countries like Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica also have similar citizenship by investment programs. India has appealed to these small islands with a pitch that they are economic offenders and fugitives for committing financial crimes.

Dominica and St Lucia give citizenship and a valid passport for just $100,000 which is chump change for ultra rich Indians on the run. If your spouse needs a similar passport then it is $165,000 in St Lucia and $175,000 in Dominica. Meanwhile, Grenada gives a similar passport for $200,000.

Predicated on its nine-point agenda presented in the G-20 Leaders' Summit held on Nov. 30, 2018 and Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for action against fugitive economic offenders, Indian diplomats in conjunction with Interpol and domestic probe agencies are determined to bring all four back. 

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