Mehul Choksi says he is unwell, but does not submit papers; Bombay HC dismisses his plea

Diamantaire objected to ED proceedings under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act stating Mehul Choksi is diabetic, has brain clot .
Mehul Choksi moved the HC after the special court rejected his plea to quash the ED’s proceedings.(HT photo (Representational image))
Mehul Choksi moved the HC after the special court rejected his plea to quash the ED’s proceedings.(HT photo (Representational image))
Updated on Aug 27, 2019 11:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByKanchan Chaudhari

The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday dismissed a plea filed by 13,500-crore PNB fraud accused fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi seeking a fresh hearing by a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on his objection to the enforcement directorate’s (ED) proceedings against him under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act.

Choksi moved the HC after the special court on December 15, 2018 rejected his plea to quash the ED’s proceedings, contending he had not intentionally fled or refused to return to India, but was unable to return owing to his medical condition. The HC division bench of justice Indrajit Mahanty and justice Nitin Suryawanshi dismissed Choksi’s plea, primarily on the grounds that he did not submit his medical papers to enable a panel of doctors from JJ Hospital to examine and confirm whether the absconding diamantaire was medically fit to take a flight to back to India from Antigua. Choksi had claimed he was diabetic and a clot in his brain has created several health complications for him, because of which “it was extremely impossible for him to travel on a long flight of 41 hours (back to Mumbai)”.

Responding to his claim, the ED offered to provide a team of medical experts along with an air ambulance to bring him back under proper medical supervision. “It is not safe and advisable for the petitioner [Choksi] to stay in Antigua, as Dr HA Marcos [who is treating him there] has specifically mentioned that unfortunately in Antigua there is no interventional cardiologist, neurologist or haematologist and there is no facility for cardiac catheterisation, in case of any medical emergency there might be a danger to the health and life of the petitioner,” ED had stated in response to Choksi’s claims.

In its fresh affidavit, the ED refuted Choksi’s claims that the agency seized properties worth 6,170 crore and said properties worth 2,509.92 crore have been seized. “The absconding diamantaire tried to dispose entire properties [in India] before fleeing, but could not do so due to paucity of time,” stated its affidavit.

On Monday, Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal told the bench the Antiguan doctor was no longer treating the trader and he would be required to fly to Miami, where he was operated upon, to obtain his medical papers.

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