PNB scam: Mehul Choksi cites fear of mob lynching to seek cancellation of warrant
Mumbai, July 23: Days after Alwar lynching, Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi on Monday in an application told a special PMLA court that he fears being lynched by a mob if he comes back to India to join in the investigation for PNB scam, in which he is a key accused.
A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had in March and July this year issued non-bailable warrants against Choksi after it took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.
"There have been various cases of mob lynching in India. This recent trend of mob lynching and general public giving justice on the road is growing. Even the applicant faces a similar threat as there are several persons who have grievances and anger against him (Choksi)," it claimed.
The application comes just two days after 28-year-old Rakbar Khan was allegedly lynched by a mob on suspicion of cow smuggling in Alwar. There have also been a spate of lynchings across teh country over suspicions of child lifting that have been fuelled by fake messages on WhatsApp.
Choksi also faces a threat of extortion by jail staff, and danger to his life by jail inmates if he is brought to India and lodged in a prison here, the application said.
It claimed that Choksi never shied away from the investigation and has responded to all the communication he received from the investigating agencies.
Choksi's ill health, the revocation of his passport and threat to his life are the main circumstances why he is unable to travel to India, it added.
Special PMLA Judge M S Azmi directed the Enforcement Directorate to file its reply on Choksi's application and kept the matter for further hearing on August 18.
Choksi, who is also facing a corruption case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, had last month moved a similar application before a special CBI court seeking cancellation of the warrant issued by that court.
The Punjab National Bank (PNB) had earlier detected a multi-crore scam, wherein diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi allegedly cheated the state-run lender to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in January this year, after which PNB officials reported it to the agencies concerned.