The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai has issued summons against Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to appear before it or they will be declared Fugitive Economic Offenders. The summons have been issued in relation to Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank scam. Nirav Modi has been directed to appear before the court on September 25 while Mehul Choksi to appear on September 26.
The move has come after a similar application was moved against businessman Vijay Mallya in the Rs 9,000-crore alleged bank loan fraud case. The court recently issued summons to him for August 27 under the new ordinance.
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018 that aims at preventing financial fraudsters from fleeing the country in order to avoid any legal action against them. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha a week before on July 19.
Recently, Mehul Choksi reportedly moved to Antigua from the United States (US) on a local passport. Antiguan authorities informed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that Choksi arrived there this month and had taken the passport of that country.
In an application moved before the special PMLA court, Choksi has also claimed that he faces a threat to his life not only from his former employees and debtors but also from jail staff and inmates.
“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),” the application read.
“As it became impossible for the applicant’s company to function and the employees were not paid their salaries and debtors did not get their money back, all these persons have become agitated against the applicant and he is now facing threat to his life,” it claimed.
The application stated that if Choksi is brought to India, he would face a threat of extortion by jail staff and danger to his life by prison inmates.
“Choksi never shied away from the investigation and has responded to all the communication he received from the investigating agencies. His 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 stated.