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Mehul Choksi gets Caribbean passport to hoodwink Indian agencies

The CBI has booked Choksi, uncle of his alleged partner in crime Nirav Modi, in two cases related to the PNB scam and filed charge sheet against him.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2018 21:56 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
New Delhi,Hindustan Times
Mehul Choksi,PNB scam,Antigua
Mehul Choksi had fled India in the first week of January.(HT File Photo)

Diamond trader Mehul Choksi, who is facing a multi-agency probe in India in connection with the Rs14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, moved to Antigua and Barbuda and acquired a passport in the Caribbean country, according to government officials familiar with the development.

The officials said that he is still in the Caribbean country but has not been detained.

“Investigation agencies have been informed by Interpol in response to a diffusion notice against Choksi that he reached Antigua on July 8 from the US and also holds an Antiguan passport. Sister agencies have been provided with the information to take further action,” said a government official who asked not to be named.

When contacted, Choksi’s lawyer Sanjay Abbot said: “I have no clue about it.”

The state-owned PNB has accused Choksi and his diamantaire nephew Nirav Modi of defrauding the bank through the use of unauthorised Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit that effectively act as bank guarantees.

Simultaneous probes were launched against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax department and the corporate affairs ministry. Formal charges have been filed by the CBI and ED.

Officials from the two agencies said both Modi and Choksi left the country in the first week of January. They have not returned despite repeated summons, taking the plea that there was an adverse sentiment against them and that they feared for their lives. In an application before a Mumbai court on Monday, Choksi sought the cancellation of a non-bailable warrant against him.

CBI has managed to secure red corner notices (an international arrest warrant though it is not obligatory on member countries to execute it) against Nirav and his brother Neeshal, who also left India in January, but a red corner notice has not yet been issued against Choksi.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 18:06 IST