New Delhi: Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, wanted in a Rs 13,500 crore loan fraud in Punjab National Bank, has gone missing in Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since January 2018, the Royal Police Force of the Caribbean island nation said in a statement.
The CBI, which is probing allegations against Choksi, is verifying reports through “formal and informal” channels, including the Interpol that has issued a red corner notice against him on a request from the agency, officials here said on Tuesday.
Choksi was last seen on Sunday in his car, which police recovered after a search. However, he could not be found, the statement from the Antiguan police said.
Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal confirmed the reports of his client missing.
The statement from the Antiguan police, which launched a missing person operation on Sunday, came on Monday night Indian time with a photograph of the businessman and seeking information from public.
“The Police are investigating a Missing Person Report made of 62-year-old Mehul Choksi of Jolly Harbour. Mehul was reported missing on Sunday 23rd May 2021 at the Johnson Point Police Station,” it said.
Antiguanewsroom, a local media outlet, quoted Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney as saying that the police is “following up on the whereabouts of Indian businessman Mehul Choksi”, who is “rumoured” to be missing.
The media reports said Choksi, who had taken citizenship of the island nation, was seen driving in the southern area of the island on Sunday.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking.
While Modi is in a London prison after repeated denial of bail and is contesting extradition to India, Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.
Both are facing a CBI probe.