One of the primary accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud case worth Rs 13500 crores – Mehul Choksi, has appealed to a Mumbai court to cancel the non-bailable warrants issued against him because he fears he would be lynched if he returned to India.
While the court was not surprised by the appeal, people were certainly amazed at the argument put forth demanding the relaxation.
It has been reported in the media that the tainted promoter of Gitanjali Gems is now in the Caribbean island of Antigua.
The media, quoting sources from the intelligence agencies, claimed that Choksi had flown to the Caribbean through the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua on July 8. That was just a day before Indian intelligence and security agencies had got in touch with US authorities officially for information in relation to the possible extradition of the fugitive.
“Choksi took a JetBlue flight for his travel from the US to Antigua,” a source from the security agencies was quoted in the media as saying. The agencies also said that Choksi significantly did not make use of his Indian passport for this flight. Sources have said that Choksi used an Antiguan passport that he has managed to acquire.
In the anti-corruption court in Mumbai on Monday, an application filed by Choksi read: “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 (Mr Choksi).”
Choski is apprehensive that he may be harmed by his former employees and debtors and that he would not remain safe inside a jail because of the other inmates who might hurt him too, said Mehul Choksi in the application.
Following the filing of a charge sheet against Choksi, the anti-corruption court had issued warrants against him in March and July.
“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,” the application said.
He further claimed in the ap[plication that he has never refrained from cooperating with the investigating agencies and had duely given reply to all forms of communication that the investigating agencies had sent him and those that had reached him.
Choksi further attempted to explain his case in the application saying that he is unable to come back to India because he is ill and that his passport has been banned and he believes that there can be a threat to his life in India.
The Enforcement Directorate has been ordered to file a reply on Choksi’s application by August 18 by the anti-corruption court judge, MS Azmi.
A similar kind of petition was filed by Mehul Choksi in a CBI court in response to the case filed against him by the central investigating agency.
Mehul Choksi, along with his nephew billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi, as well as some of the senior and junior staff of the PNB are among the accused in the multi crore bank scam which was detected earlier this year.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)