New Delhi: India will continue to make all attempts to bring back all economic offenders and fugitives including Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi to face justice, the Ministry of External Affairs has said on Thursday.
"We will continue to make all efforts to bring fugitives to face justice in India. As regards the specific case of Mehul Choksi, I don't have any update. But he remains in the custody of the Dominican authorities and certain legal proceedings are on the way," MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters at a virtual media briefing. The Choksi matter has come up for legal proceedings at Dominica.
As for Choksi's nephew Nirav Modi, who is also facing charges in the Punjab National Bank scam, the MEA spokesman said, "In April this year, the UK Secretary of State has ordered his extradition to India. We understand Nirav Modi is seeking to appeal against this decision. He is now in the custody of UK authorities".
Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are wanted in connection with the Rs 13,578-crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB).
Mr Bagchi also maintained that the issue of 'extradition' of economic offenders was also discussed in the India-UK Virtual Summit on May 4, the UK side informed that there were "some legal hurdles because of the nature of the criminal justice system in the UK. But they are aware of the issue and they would do whatever possible to make sure that these people are extradited at the earliest".
The PNB fraud case against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi is being probed by the CBI and relates to fraudulent obtaining of letters of undertakings or loan agreements.
Indian students travel to China:
Answering questions, the MEA spokesman said, "…we recognize the need to ensure safety and strictly follow Covid related protocols, essential two way travel should be facilitated, especially keeping in view the fact that Chinese nationals are able to travel to India".
He clarified that as of now persons from China, including Chinese nationals, are able to travel to India despite the "absence of direct connectivity".
However, he said, for Indian nationals, "travel to China has not been possible since last November as the Chinese side had suspended existing visas. In March this year, the Chinese Embassy issued a notification about facilitating visas for those taking Chinese-made vaccines. It is understood that several Indian nationals have applied for Chinese visas after getting vaccinated in that manner but are yet to be issued visas".
"Since these Indian nationals have apparently met the requirements laid down by the Chinese side, we hope that the Chinese Embassy would be able to issue them visas soon," Mr Bagchi said.
"As conveyed earlier, we have been in touch with the Chinese side in order to seek an early resumption of travel by Indian citizens to China, especially for those who work or study there".
On the India-Afghanistan ties, the MEA spokesman said the relations are "historical and multi-faceted".
"We have been engaging with Afghans across ethnicities. As a friendly neighbour, we are concerned about peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. We support all peace initiatives and have been engaged with several stakeholders including regional countries," he said.
Mr Bagchi further said, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar participated in the inaugural ceremony of the intra Afghan talks held in Doha last year.
"In the recent past, we have had visits by multiple Afghan leaders to India and we have also had official visits to Kabul. We are in touch with various stakeholders, as I said, in pursuance of our long term commitment towards development and reconstruction of Afghanistan," he added.