The Centre on Friday extended the Extradition Act’s provisions to include Antigua and Barbuda. The development is based on the island nation’s notification of India as a designated country in 2001 under the provision of the Antigua and Barbuda Extradition Act, 1993, a Ministry of External Affairs order said.

This is expected to pave the way for India to initiate fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s extradition process.

Choksi has reportedly moved a court in Antigua and Barbuda against being extradited, The Economic Times reported.

Choksi fled India in January, a few weeks before a massive scam at Punjab National Bank came to light. He and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding the bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.

Antigua’s Citizenship By Investment Unit said it had received Choksi’s application for citizenship in May 2017 with the necessary documents, including a police clearance certificate. “The said police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Mr Mehul Chinubbhai Choksi,” the Citizenship By Investment Unit said.

Choksi’s application was subjected to “stringent background checks which included open source internet checks, Thompson Reuters World-Check, queries of various sanctions lists, engagement with regional and international intelligence agencies to include Interpol as well as contracted third-party due diligence providers”, it added.

Choksi was granted citizenship in November 2017. Last month, he said that he had “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda to expand his business interests in the Caribbean and used the country’s Citizenship Investment Program to invest in the country in exchange for its citizenship.

Choksi’s citizenship, which cost him a little more than Rs 1.3 crore, was cleared before the Central Bureau of Investigation registered the first case of bank fraud against him and his nephew Nirav Modi.

Antigua’s statement also mentioned that it had received documents about two investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India into Choksi’s corporate entity in 2014 and 2017. The market regulator, however, clarified that it had not provided any such information to the Citizenship By Investment Unit.