PNB scam: Mehul Choksi’s plea for ED probe in Antigua rejected

NEW DELHI: A special court here on Thursday rejected a plea filed by diamantaire Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, seeking its direction to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to question him in Antigua, where he is currently based.

Choksi had last month filed the plea before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court seeking its direction to the central agency to probe him in the Carribean nation, saying he was not fit to travel to India.

In the petition, Choksi had also pleaded that he be allowed to appear before the court through video conferencing till he is medically fit to travel to India.

He also said in the plea that he left India for a medical treatment abroad and not to avoid prosecution in the case.

Due to the medical condition, it will be “unbearable”, “intolerable”, “unmanageable” and difficult for him to travel, he had said in the petition, which also said that doctors had “cautioned” him against such travel.

However, his plea was rejected by special PMLA court judge V C Barde.

Appearing on behalf of Choksi, his lawyers Vijay Aggarwal and Ashul Agarwal on Thursday filed two applications before the court.

In one of the applications, Choksi raised the objection that the documents submitted by the ED to the court do not comply the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act.

It also said that most of the documents being relied upon by the central agency are mere photocopies, which cannot be read against Choksi.

The court is presently hearing the ED’s plea to declare Choksi a fugitive economic offender (FEO) under the newly-promulgated FEO Act.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, are wanted by the ED and the CBI for allegedly defrauding the PNB to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore in collusion with a few employees of the state-run lender.


Source: Press Trust of India

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