"Can't travel 41 hours to India": Choksi tells court, blames ED
NEW DELHI: Fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi has told a court in Mumbai that he cannot travel to India, where he is wanted by investigating agencies for loan fraud, as he cannot bear a 41-hour journey from Antigua because of his poor health.
In a written reply to the court, Mehul Choksi, 59, has accused the Enforcement Directorate of misleading the court by not revealing his health condition and the fact that he has been in touch with banks and wants to settle his dues. He said he was willing to join the investigation through video-conferencing.
The Enforcement Directorate has asked the court to declare Mehul Choksi a fugitive economic offender and seize his properties.
Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda last year and he took the oath of allegiance to that country on January 15. Just days later, on January 29, the CBI filed a case and started investigating him and his nephew Nirav Modi.
Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are accused of a Rs. 13,000 crore fraud involving fake guarantees in the name of state-run Punjab National Bank to secure loans abroad. They both skipped the country in January. Choksi left the country for medical treatment in the US.
Earlier this month, global police body Interpol issued a red corner notice against Choksi on the CBI's request.
Last month, his lawyer said he could return to India in three months if his "condition gets better".
India is making efforts to bring back Choksi from Antigua under the provision of a law of the island nation, which provides for extradition of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.
India and Antigua do not have a bilateral extradition pact.