The Indian government has clarified provisions of the Extradition Act 1962 shall apply with respect to Antigua and Barbuda. In 2001 Antigua and Barbuda notified India as a designated country under Commonwealth country under the provision of Extradition Act.
The step by the Government will also help in the extradition of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi in connection with his alleged involvement in the Punjab National Bank scam.
The Ministry of External Affairs’ order read: “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Extradition Act, 1962 (34 of 1962), the Central Government hereby directs that the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1962, other than Chapter 3, shall apply with respect to Antigua and Barbuda with effect from the date of notifying India as a designated Commonwealth Country under the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1993 (12 of 1993) of Antigua and Barbuda, by Statutory Instrument No. 34 of 2001 dated the 17th September 2001.”
This comes after India, on Sunday, formally handed over an extradition request to authorities in Antigua and Barbuda for fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi.
Earlier, Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) had earlier clarified that it took all steps to ensure 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 necessary documents, including a police clearance certificate as required by the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act 2013.
The MEA also clarified on misleading news reports about a new extradition agreement with Antigua and Barbuda.
“The report is incorrect. As per the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1993 of Antigua and Barbuda, a fugitive may be extradited to a Designated Commonwealth Country or a State with which there are general or special arrangement or a bilateral treaty. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda notified India as a designated Commonwealth country in 2001,” the clarification read.
“The gazette notification on 3 August 2018 directs that the provisions of Extradition Act, 1962 shall apply with respect to Antigua and Barbuda with effect from 2001 i.e. when Antigua and Barbuda notified India as Designated Commonwealth Country under the provision of its own Extradition Act.”
“These notifications constitute an extradition arrangement between India and Antigua and Barbuda under their Extradition Act of 1993 and provide the legal basis for extraditing offenders from each other’s jurisdiction,” it added.
(With inputs from ANI)