Mumbai, July 23: Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, on Monday approached the Prevention of money laundering Act Court seeking cancellation of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him.
The businessman filed the application, under Section 70(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The NBW was issued against him after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed two separate applications in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai last month against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi under Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018.
As per the application, Choksi is a law-abiding citizen” and “never shied away from the investigation or the investigating agencies and duly responded to all the communications received by him from the investigating agencies.”
The application says that Choksi fled to abroad for a regular health checkup due to ill health.
“Subsequently, his passport was revoked which made him unable to travel abroad. Companies associated with Choksi were freezed and the serves of the company were taken away due to which it became impossible for the company to function and when the company stop functioning the employees of the company were not paid their salaries and the debtors of the company were not paid their debt due to which all the persons became agitated against the present applicant and he started facing serious threat to his life which made it difficult for him to return though he left only for the purposes of medical treatment which fact was also apprised to the investigating agency,” the application said.
Citing example of mob lynching incidents in India, Choksi in the application asserted that following persons have “grievances and anger” against him – the existing employees whose salaries and dues have not been paid due to freezing of the accounts; the kin of detained employees who have been held without any rhyme or reason; 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 Enforcement Directorate (ED); the creditors of supplies and services, who have not been paid their dues.
“If Mehul Choksi had the intention to run away from the jurisdiction of the court or from the country then Mehul Choksi would not have left property worth crores in the country which fact is clear from this various seizures made by the Enforcement Directorate wherein the Enforcement Directorate has seized articles worth more than 5000 crores. It is commercial common sense that the PNB could have recovered all its dues from the properties itself,” the application added.
Meanwhile, another application was filed by accused Vipul Chetalia though lawyer Sajay Abbot under Section 44 of the PMLA demading that the trial pending before the Special PMLA Judge be committed to the Special CBI Judge.
The court will hear both the applications on August 18.
For those unversed, the PNB unearthed the multi-crore scam this year in February, wherein Nirav and business-partner Mehul Choksi had allegedly defrauded the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the lender.