Mumbai: Gitanjali Group owner Mehul Choksi, wanted in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, on Friday moved a special CBI court claiming danger to his life after his return to India and sought cancellation of a non-bailable warrant issued against him.
In an application filed through his lawyer Sanjay Abbott, Choksi said his “apprehensions over his safety are based upon what transpired during a recent television debate on the fraud”.
In his application, Choksi informed the court that he was shocked to watch a TV debate on July 27, 2018 in which two callers on live television suggested that a special team consisting of special agents should be formed and suggested that the team should track the whereabouts of the present applicant and he (Choksi) should be “shot down”.
Choksi further said that the anchor also did not criticise the comment made by the caller and tactily agreed to it without any retaliation or without condemning the comment, “he laughingly said ok”.
Choksi said the caller also declared that the applicant (Choksi) is guilty and said that “killing of one person will set an example”.
“The above facts make it clear that the present applicant (Choksi) has serious threat to life on his return as if a person is having the audacity to suggest to shoot the applicant on national television, then one can easily imaging the threat that the applicant (Choksi) is facing if he returns to India,” it said.
Choksi, who had acquired Antiguan citizenship ealier this year, through his lawyer also sent some audio and video CDs claiming that they contained the cited footage from the news channel debate.
He has urged the court to make his submission a part of the court records and, in light of the same, to cancel the non bailable warrant issued against him.
On May 22 this year, the court had issued the NBW against Choksi after taking cognisance of the second charge sheet filed in the PNB fraud case by the CBI.
Choksi’s lawyer speaking to IANS said, “The court has directed the CBI to file reply on the submissions made by Choksi by October 3 which is the next date of hearing.”
Earlier in June this year, Choksi had filed a plea claiming that he had been advised bed rest on account of his ill health following a “heart operation”.
In his plea Choksi also said that he feared that once in India, the probe agencies would not help him secure the kind of medical treatment and supervision he required.
He had also raised the issue of “trend of mob lynching” in the country, and he feared that he might become a victim of such lynching.
Choksi and Nirav Modi are under probe by both the CBI and ED. The ED had on May 24 and 26 filed the chargesheets against both. The court took cognisance and issued non-bailable warrants against them.
Nirav Modi left India along with his family in the first week of January, weeks before the scam was reported to the CBI. His wife Ami, a US citizen, left on January 6 and Choksi on January 4.