Mehul Choksi ‘medically unfit’ to travel from Antigua, counsel tells special ED court

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With Interpol likely to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Mehul Choksi next week, his lawyer told a court Saturday that the fugitive jeweller is not fit to travel, and that his statement could be recorded either through video conferencing or in person if Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers could travel to Antigua.

In a fresh application filed through his lawyers Sanjay Abbot and Ashul Agarwal before the designated court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Choksi undertook to appear before the court as soon as he was medically fit to travel to India, “most likely within the next three months”.

“It is submitted that the accused (Choksi) is ready and willing to cooperate with the investigating agencies, however, due to his health he is unable to travel. However, this honourable court may direct the investigating officers to travel to Antigua where the accused is currently residing which will enable them to conduct investigation,” the application said.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are under investigation by the ED and CBI for alleged fraudulent transactions worth over Rs 13,500 crore at state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB). Choksi is a citizen and a resident of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Nirav Modi is believed to be in the UK.

The special court is hearing multiple applications filed by Choksi, including one seeking cancellation of the non-bailable warrant against him, and another against the ED’s plea to declare him an “economic fugitive offender”. Choksi has submitted that contrary to the ED’s claim that he left the country under suspicious circumstances in the first week of January and has avoided joining the investigation in spite of summons, he has actually been unable to return because of persisting medical conditions.

“Due to the medical conditions, it is medically impossible for the accused to travel because it will be unbearable, intolerable, unmanageable and difficult for him to travel and doctors have cautioned him from such travel,” the application said. Not returning to India is “not intentional”, Choksi has said, and asked that he be allowed to appear through video conferencing instead. His lawyers submitted that provisions under the Code of Criminal Procedure allow for the recording of evidence through video conferencing.

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On May 29, the CBI had sent a request to the Interpol to issue an RCN against Choksi. Choksi challenged the request, citing the poor condition of jails in India, which he said violated “human rights conditions”. The CBI then assured Interpol that Choksi was an “economic offender”, and would be provided with the necessary protection.
In June, Choksi sought cancellation of the non-bailable warrant against him, citing “the recent trend of mob lynching”, and said there was a threat to his life, due to which he could not travel to India.

A five-member Interpol committee court, called the Commission for Control of Files, has now ruled in favour of Indian authorities, and is likely to issue an RCN against Choksi, sources said. The Interpol had already issued a RCN against Nirav Modi and a few of his associates.

Earlier this year, the ED had moved applications before a special court in Mumbai seeking confiscation of the attached assets of Choksi under the recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.

Under the provisions of the Ordinance, a director or other officer not below the rank of Deputy Director, on the basis of material in his or her possession can, if he or she has reason to believe that an individual is a fugitive economic offender, file an application before the special court.

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11 COMMENTS

    • Choksi is innocent. Just read the articles and research about how the ruling party there in India is trying to punish him for supporting the opposition. Choksi is an Antiguan citizen and he deserves to be protected under our law and constitution.

  1. India has far more doctors and superior health care facilities than Antigua, as a matter of fact all the medical specialist that you can name is in India. Alternative medicine such as herbalist, Ayurveda, yoga etc no shortage.

    Now airambulance is capable of transporting any sick person even the critically ill to any destination.

    If a person is ill and is desirous of achieving wellness, getting the best health care at any cost where ever it is would be his only mission.

    So what’s the delay……

  2. Medically unfit to travel? So he brought his doctors with him or sent for them then?
    What new cartoon is there to be released next?

  3. THE CHOKING CHOKSI

    Using his ‘…Mega Means,’ Choksi would choke anyone that gets in his way or likely to compromise his freedoms and liberties and/or his status.

    As the name suggests ‘…Mehul Choksi’ (pronounced ‘Chokee;’ S -silent), likened to the Indian T20 female cricketers that had reportedly ‘…Choked Ireland out of a victory’ [HndustanTimes: November 16, 2018], Choksi is now choking the local authorities for a legal victory to avoid the Indian Judiciary.

    In a democracy, person of ‘…Choksi means,’ could ‘choke the daylight out of the authorities.

    As Choksi continues to choke, the authorities are struggling and panting for breath.

    Even so, still not sure why this news portal ‘…Persisting in Harping’ on what ‘…INTERPOL’ may issue or not issue.

    This is really of ‘…no relevance or significance’ to local authorities.

    The authorities are neither guided by the dictates nor actions of INTERPOL.

    For clarity of understanding, this organization has neither the ‘…jurisdiction; …power, nor control over the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.’

    This Government is guided only by that which is contained in the law.

    This is specific to the Extradition Act No.12 of 1993, allowing for an exercisable discretion that resides with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, E.P. Chet Greene.

    Even so, E.P Chet Greene is not the Prime Minister, and the the Prime Minister is not E.P. Chet Greene.

    Hence, even with his responsibilities, he shall submit to the ‘…Collective Decision’ of the Executive.

  4. Choksi is innocent. Protect our Antigua citizens from big foreign countries. These big countries like India give us nothing, so we owe them nothing.

  5. Is this a joke or stupid we A&B citizen’s are so stupid? Halt & come again. That pill is too large to swallow.

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