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Attention moves to other top fugitives after Mehul Choksi’s arrest

  Attention returned on the pending extradition processes against many of the absconders, following the arrest of fugitive diamond businessman, Mehul Choksi, in the Caribbean island nation, Dominica. Erstwhile owner of Gitanjali Gems, Mehul Choksi is a declared fugitive of the Punjab National Bank fraud case, cheated Indian public, committing a scam of almost two billion US dollars. Originally Indian, Choksi has acquired Antiguan citizenship to avoid the law in India.

Extradition is barely a successful government endeavour going by India’s experience. Efforts were on to hand over 72 fugitives to India from different countries, according to the government’s reply to the Rajya Sabha in 2020.

Let’s have a look at some of the top fugitives with their latest status.

Recognised for launching the Indian Premier League (IPL), Lalit Modi is wanted for supposedly cheating the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by INR 753 crore.

In 2010, shortly before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was to file a case, mentioning his life threat, Lalit Modi fled India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) filed a police case against him in Chennai in 2010.

The police investigation did not progress since seven years, building the ground for the Interpol to discard the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) appeal to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN). India filed an extradition request more than a decade after he fled. He was reported last to be living in London.

Nirav Modi fled India in 2017 after the PNB scam was uncovered. India approached the UK for his arrest in 2018. The legal obstacles were cleared after Nirav Modi lost a case in the UK court in April, 2021. But he has filed fresh appeals in the court against his extradition to India.

Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi’s uncle and co-accused in the PNB scam case, has been successful till date in escaping Indian agencies. But his arrest in Dominica recently could mean that his fortune has come to an end.

Still being a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP), businessman, Vijay Mallya fled India to UK in 2016, wanted for alleged banking fraud in India. India has won all the court cases for the extradition of Vijay Mallya, while living in the UK. But an official consent from the UK government is still anticipated.

In connection with a banking fraud to the tune of INR 15,600 crore, businessman, Nitin Sandesara, his wife and brother-in-law, all are wanted in India. Involved in a scam, on Sterling Biotech Group, a firm promoted by Sandesaras, they fled India to Nigeria in 2017. In February 2021, they filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court appealing Nigeria and Albania rejected the extradition request by India in 2019. In 2020, they were declared fugitives in India.

Jatin Mehta, a diamond businessman is wanted for a bank fraud case. Fled India in 2013 to the Caribbean island St Kitts with family, he shuffled between St Kitts and the UK. However, reported in 2020 that he has settled and floated new firms in Southeast European country, Montenegro.

Sanjay Bhandari, who fled India in 2016 is yet another prominent fugitive, wanted in India in a money laundering cases. Based in the UK, he had resisted extradition to India in a London court. He had activated a political noise in India over his suspected links to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's husband Robert Vadra, who had denied any business connections with the suspects.



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