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This week could see some most-wanted fugitives returning home: Probe agencies

PW Bureau 

Although no names were mentioned, rumours in official circles are that jeweller Mehul Choksi, who has sought refuge in Antigua, is one of the fugitives to be brought back New Delhi: Following a meeting of the Joint Intelligence Committee, top officials have said that operations to bring back fugitives to India this week are in progress, hinting at a “big development” this week, sources said on condition of anonymity. Although no names were mentioned, rumours in official circles are that jeweller Mehul Choksi, who has sought refuge in the Caribbean island of Antigua, is one of the fugitives who will be brought back.

Big win for government

A move to bring back Choksi to the country will be a big win for probe agencies — the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) — as well as the Narendra Modi government ahead of this year’s General Elections. An announcement is likely to be made in the coming days, an official said, according to a report by Mint. “Something big with regard to a bank scam accused was underway which will be made public by Monday or Tuesday,” senior government officials said.

PNB scam

Earlier this month, the CBI made plans to send a special investigative team to Antigua and Barbuda to help extradite Choksi. The jeweller is accused of swindling state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs 11,400 crores in the largest bank fraud case in India. By using fraudulent data, Choksi was accused of securing credit from overseas banks after conspiring with bankers. A government of India gazette notification dated August 3 says, “The Central government hereby directs the provisions of the Extradition Act of 1962 shall apply in the case of Antigua with effect from the date of notifying India as a designated Commonwealth country.”