PNB scam accused Mehul Choksi says not returning to India due to fear of mob lynching


MUMBAI: Key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi, has moved a special court seeking cancellation of non-bailable warrants issued against him, citing mob lynching as his fear if he is brought to India.

Choksi has claimed that he faces a threat to his life not only from his former employees and debtors but also from jail staff and inmates. “There have been various cases of mob lynching in India. This recent trend of mob lynching and general public giving justice on the road is growing. Even the applicant faces a similar threat as there are several persons who have grievances and anger against him (Choksi), he said in his application moved before the special PMLA court.

“As it became impossible for the applicant’s company to function and the employees were not paid their salaries and debtors did not get their money back, all these persons have become agitated against the applicant and he is now facing threat to his life,” it claimed.

In his application, Choksi claimed that he never shied away from the investigation and has responded to all the communication he received from the investigating agencies. His ill health, the revocation of his passport and threat to his life are the main circumstances why he is unable to travel to India, the application stated.

Special PMLA Judge MS Azmi has directed the Enforcement Directorate to file its reply on Choksi’s application and has kept the matter for further hearing on August 18.

Choksi and his nephew diamond tycoon Nirav Modi are accused of colluding with a handful of bankers to secure credit from overseas banks using fraudulent guarantees. Both left India before the PNB complaint against them was filed and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Choksi has been highly critical of investigating agencies, alleging that the seizure of his assets, bank accounts and the shutting down of all his offices in India has caused prejudice against him.

A special court for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act had issued a non-bailable warrant against Choksi this month after the Enforcement Directoratefiled charges against him and his associates last month.

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