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CBI Seeks Restoration Of Red Notice Against Mehul Choksi: Agency Statement
CBI remains in active communication with CCF and other bodies in Interpol in an ongoing process relating to this case
Photo Credit : Businessworld
CBI in its press statement released on Tuesday stated that Interpol's Red Notice is not mandatory for extradition proceedings against Mehul Choksi. Further, it said that it has already filed two charge sheets in the case against wanted criminal Mehul Choksi and others u/s 120-B r/w 409, 420, 477A, 201 IPC and Sec. 7 & 13(2) r/w 13(1)(c)&(d) of PC Act, 1988.
CBI also informed that it has registered five more criminal cases against him and others for defrauding banks and financial institutions.
CBI as National Central Bureau Interpol had issued a diffusion to locate absconding criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi in February 2018. The movements of the criminal were tracked by CBI in close direct coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies and he was geo-located to Antigua and Barbuda. An extradition request against Mehul Chinubhai Choksi was sent through diplomatic channels to the competent authorities of Antigua and Barbuda in August 2018.
In 2018, wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi approached Commission for Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) making a request for the non-publication of a Red Notice. CCF is a separate body within Interpol that is not under the control of the Interpol Secretariat and is mainly staffed by elected lawyers from different countries. CCF had studied his request and consulted CBI. CCF dismissed the representation of Mehul Chinubhai Choksi and Interpol published a Red Notice.
The purpose of a Red Notice issued by Interpol is to seek the location of a wanted person and to seek their detention, arrest or restriction of movement for purpose of extradition, surrender or similar action.
Although the primary purpose of the Red Notice was already achieved, the same was retained as a precautionary measure.
As the Extradition proceedings against wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi were proceeding in Antigua and Barbuda, to create diversions, the subject Mehul Chinubhai Choksi had been approaching various international forums with fully concocted and imaginary narratives.
In 2019, wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi again approached Commission for Control of IInterpol's Files (CCF) seeking the removal of a Red Notice from Interpol's website. CCF had studied his request, consulted CBI and based on inputs, again in 2020, dismissed the plea of wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi.
CCF consulted CBI and ED on the matter and the factual situation on the narrative of wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi being wholly unsubstantiated and without an iota of evidence was put forth to the CCF.
As per the sources, Mehul Chinubhai Choksi has been making all possible attempts to derail ongoing extradition proceedings in Antigua and Barbuda, to evade the process of law in India. However, based on mere imaginary conjunctures and unproven surmises, a five-member CCF chamber has taken a decision on the deletion of the Red Notice, communicated in November 2022.
Thereafter, CBI has taken up with CCF the serious shortcomings, procedural violations, overreach of mandate and mistakes committed by CCF in the manner of reaching this unfounded and perfunctory decision.
CBI continues to exercise available remedial and appellate options within Interpol for rectification of this faulty decision and for restoration of the Red Notice. CBI has pointed out that even Antigua authorities consider there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that the applicant concealed material facts or made false representation when he applied for his Antigua and Barbuda citizenship, a fact which reflects on the previous conduct of this criminal.
CCF has reiterated that it has not established factual certainties and there is no factual finding in its decision that Mehul Chinubhai Choksi will not have a fair trial. Based on new information and serious errors in the decision, CBI is taking steps for the decision of CCF to be revised.
CBI remains in active communication with CCF and other bodies in Interpol in an ongoing process relating to this case.
It may be noted that an Interpol Red Notice is neither a prerequisite nor a requirement for extradition proceedings. The Global Operations Centre of CBI continues to closely monitor the movements of wanted criminals like Mehul Chinubhai Choksi in close direct coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies and not reliant only on Interpol channels. Extradition request made by India is under active consideration before authorities in Antigua and Barbuda and remains fully unimpacted by Red notice-related communications with Interpol.
CBI remains committed to returning fugitives and criminals to India to face a process of criminal justice. Systematic steps have been initiated in close coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies for geo-locating and return of wanted criminals and economic offenders.