Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has clarified that it took all steps to ensure fugitive diamantaire and Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam accused Mehul Choksi was a ‘fit and proper candidate’ for the grant of citizenship as allowed under the country’s Citizenship by Investment Act.
In a press release, the CIU stated that Choksi’s application was received by them in May 2017 with the necessary documents required, including a police clearance certificate as required by the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act 2013.
The said police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Choksi, which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including a visa for Antigua and Barbuda," the CIU said.
In the said statement published by Antigua Observer, the CIU has also said that that Choksi’s application was subjected to stringent background checks and that the final decision was taken after results of all of these checks were received and assessed.
The CIU also revealed that they received documentation of two instances in which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in 2014 and 2017, opened investigations on a corporate entity owned by Choksi.
According to the statement, the CIU’s review of online reports on this matter noted that the CBI indicated that Interpol had not made direct contact with them requesting information on Choksi.
The CIU maintained that its background investigations do in fact included Interpol. Furthermore, the CIU clarified that if there was an active warrant for Choksi at the time his citizenship application was being processed, the information should have already been made available to Interpol, a notification of which would have been readily accessible by the CIU and its partners. "
The warrant should have formed a part of the criminal records database in India and therefore declared in the police clearance certificate issued by the Ministry of External Affairs," the CIU release stated. >