PNB scam: Mehul Choksi cites ‘mob lynching’, for inability to return to India

Mumbai: Gitanjali Gems owner Mehul Choksi has moved an application in the Mumbai CBI Special court, seeking cancellation of non-bailable warrant in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. Choksi cited ill-health and threat to life as reasons for seeking cancellation. He said that due to ill-health, it would not be possible for him to travel and attend the court.

He added, he is apprehensive of his safety in India, and said that he cannot even disclose his location to the court at this stage. Choksi, in his application, has also spoken about incidents of mob lynching. According to him, there have been various reported cases of mob lynching and one of the cases was in relation to an accused who was mob lynched while being inside a jail. This recent trend of mob lynching is growing and is attempting to giving justice on the road by the general public, and subsequently there is no prosecution because of non-identification of a particular individual is giving rise to the said tendency.

He claimed that his existing employees whose salaries and dues have not been paid because of freezing of accounts, families of arrested employees, the landlords whose premises the companies had taken on rent, who have not been paid their dues, the customers whose jewellery in showroom have been taken away by the ED and creditors of supplies and services, who have not been paid their dues have grievances and anger against him and, hence, he is feels there is a threat to his life and he is unable to travel.

Choksi was represented by his lawyer Sanjay Abbot in the special CBI court.

On April 8, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued Non-Bailable Warrants (NBW) against celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle and business partner, Mehul Choksi.

The warrants were issued after a special CBI court in Mumbai allowed the same.

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) detected a multi-crore scam, wherein Nirav Modi and Choksi had allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of Rs 114 billion, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

With agencies inputs