The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Friday clarified that it had not received any request from Antigua’s Citizenship by Investment Unit for updates on its investigation into fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi.
The market regulator denied reports that claimed it had provided a “positive report” about Choksi, who fled India in January, a few weeks before he and his nephew Nirav Modi were accused of defrauding the bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.
On Thursday, the Citizenship By Investment Unit said it had cleared Choksi’s citizenship application after Indian authorities said there was “no adverse information” against him. The department also mentioned that it had received documents about two investigations conducted by the Indian market regulator into Choksi’s corporate entity in 2014 and 2017.
When asked for updates, SEBI reportedly told Antigua that one case had been “satisfactorily closed” while there was not enough evidence in the other case to pursue it, the Citizenship By Investment Unit claimed. “None of these matters is the subject of the current warrants issued by Central Bureau of Investigations in connection with the Punjab National Bank,” the unit added.
Choksi was granted the citizenship of Antigua in November 2017. Last month, he said he had “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of the Caribbean nation to expand his business interests there and had used the country’s Citizenship Investment Program to make investments in exchange for citizenship.
Last week, Antigua’s Foreign Minister Chet Greene said his government would have denied citizenship to fugitive Choksi if it had known about the charges against him.