New Delhi, July 27: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed a chargesheet against fugitive diamond jeweller Mehul Choksi in a Mumbai court naming him the “mastermind” behind the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam. In the chargesheet, ED states that Choksi designed the scheme of fraud and the movement of the money under the cover of export and import.

Mehul Choksi is the “mastermind” behind the behemoth scam. He designed the entire scheme of fraud and the movement of the money under the garb of import and export,” the chargesheet states. It further said that the ultimate decision making was with Choksi in the PNB scam.

“These companies had directors/partners who acted as dummies while ultimate decision making was only with Choksi. Some of these companies used for receiving proceeds of crime&also for laying, siphoning and parking of funds,” it said. This has come two days after the CBI wrote to Antiguan authorities demanding details about him and his present location.

Earlier, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) issued a statement that Choksi was granted citizenship by registration in November 2017 and he swore the Oath of Allegiance in Antigua on January 15, 2018.

The CIU also said that Choksi’s application was granted “after robust due diligence and international investigation by reputable agencies, including the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS)”. The CIU also said that “the 2017 investigation revealed no derogatory information about Choksi”.

Choksi had then claimed that he had taken Antigua citizenship last year to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries, local media in Antigua reported.

Denying the allegations levelled by the Indian government, Choksi stated that he had visited the US to receive medical treatment. “Having received treatment I am still in a state convalescence,” he said.

“I can, however, state that I lawfully applied to be registered as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under the Citizenship by Investment Program. During the course of my application, I did all that was lawfully required of me to do. My application for citizenship was in due course approved,” the statement published in the newspaper said.

With agency inputs