Gitanjali boss Mehul Choksi, who is accused of duping Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,500 crore, was granted a citizenship after SEBI and MEA provided a positive report on him, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua claimed in a press statement. The statement said that a police clearance certificate was issued by the Indian government in 2017 certified “there was no adverse information against Mehul Choksi.” It also said that there was no unfavourable information against Choksi that will cease him from travelling and finds him ineligible to grant a visa for Antigua and Barbuda.
The statement also read that Choksi’s application was received by the CIU in May 2017 with all the necessary documents that are required as per section 5 (2)(b) of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act 2013. He was granted Antigua citizenship in November 2017 and moved there in the first week of January soon after the PNB scam surfaced. He had also issued a statement before being officially granted as the lawful citizen of Antigua which said that he has applied for it as he wants to expand his business in the Caribbean.
Antigua authorities also clarified that before granting Mehul Choksi’s application, it was analysed thoroughly and went through strict background checks including “open source internet checks, Thompson Reuters World-Check, queries of various sanctions lists, engagement with regional and international intelligence agencies to include INTERPOL as well as contracted 3rdParty due to diligence providers.”
Coming to the positive response given by the SEBI, Antigua says that the CIU has received two documentation of two instances in which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in 2014 and 2017, initiated an investigation on the companies owned by Mehul Choksi. Notably, after seeking a report on both the investigations, the SEBI responded that both the cases have been satisfactorily closed.