Officials from the premier investigating agency CBI fear that even an Interpol notice against fugitive billionaire Mehul Choksi may not help get him extradited to India. CBI has been trying to ensure that Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the Rs. 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank fraud, is sent back to the country.
Unlike his nephew Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi seems to have planned his escape very thoroughly, an official from the agency said, according to news agency PTI.
The CBI had recently requested for a Red Cornor Notice against Mehul Choksi, and is pursuing the case actively. It even gave a strong rebuttal to Mehul Choksi's allegations that cases against are "politically motivated".
The Red Corner Notice request was put on hold by the Interpol after a representation by Mehul Choksi during which he alleged that the cases against him were a result of "political conspiracy". He also raised question about the conditions of jails in India, his personal safety and health among other reasons.
The CBI was swift to give a very strong rebuttal to the "baseless" claims of the fugitive billionaire who is alleged to be the mastermind of India's biggest financial fraud running into over $2 billion in Punjab National Bank, the officials said.
Now, the case has moved to a five-member Interpol committee court, called Commission for Control of Files, which will next month examine contentions of both the sides and give its ruling on the request for issuing a Red Corner Notice against Mehul Choksi, officials said.
MEHUL CHOKSI'S ESCAPE, AND HOW IT'S DIFFERENT FROM NIRAV MODI'S
Interpol had already issued a Red Corner Notice against Mehul Choksi's nephew Nirav Modi, who was allegedly his partner-in-crime and has been located in the United Kingdom after he fled from India in the first week of January this year.
After his location was confirmed, an extradition request has also been sent against Nirav Modi.
Mehul Choksi on the other hand was more cautious and seems to have crafted his post-escape plans well in advance. He took the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda last year and took an oath of allegiance to that country on January 15 this year, after completing the nationality process, officials said.
Mehul Choksi is now subject to Antiguan laws and issuance of a Red Corner Notice will be of little help, the agency believes.
Antigua has also shown reluctance in extraditing him back to India.
(With inputs from PTI)