Interpol junks RCN, fugitive Mehul Choksi now free to travel

Interpol junks RCN, fugitive Mehul Choksi now free to travel
Red Corner Notice is issued by Interpol to locate & provisionally arrest an individual awaiting extradition. Mehul Choksi & his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for the PNB scam.The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has removed the name of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi from the Red Corner list, ThePrint has learnt.According to sources in the intelligence, Choksi had moved a plea seeking to scrap the RCN (Red Corner Notice) issued by Interpol in December 2018, citing “human rights violations” but the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had contested it. 

The Interpol, however, earlier this year, took a decision to remove Choksi’s name.According to sources in the intelligence, an affidavit that Choksi filed in a court in Antigua and Barbuda claiming that he was “abducted and tortured by agents of the Indian government in May 2021” and taken to Dominica, a Carribean island, against his will, has a role to play in the decision.

It was on 29 May 2021 that a private jet took off from India to the Caribbean country and Choksi, who went missing from Antigua on 23 May, too surfaced there. Choksi’s attorney Wayne Marsh had then claimed that Choksi was abducted by some people who looked like “Indians along with Antigua Police”, hinting that it was indeed an operation by the Indian agencies to get Choksi out of Antigua.

An RCN is a request issued by the Interpol to locate and provisionally arrest an individual awaiting extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat of the global police body at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant.

With the RCN now revoked, Choksi can travel to any other country at will.

“It appears that the Interpol felt that Choksi would face trouble if returned to India. He also alleged that he was beaten and forcefully taken off from Antigua which may have gone against the Indian agency,” a source said. 

Choksi, who along with his nephew and co-accused Nirav Modi, also a diamantaire, fled the country in 2018, and has acquired Antiguan citizenship. He is a key accused in the Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

Choksi allegedly made the PNB issue 143 Letters of Undertaking (LOUs) and 225 Foreign Letters of Credit amounting to more than Rs 5,000 crore to three of his companies. These, in effect, make Choksi a bigger defaulter than Nirav Modi.