One of the main defendants in the country’s largest bank fraud case, Mehul Choksi, made a court application on Monday for cancellation of an arrest warrant against him, citing fears for his life because of a growing number of mob lynchings in the country.
The Sessions Court, Greater Bombay, acting as the special court under the PMLA, had issued two warrants against him- one on March 3, 2018, immediately after the ED registered the case and two, on July 3, 2018, after the Court took cognizance on the charge-sheet filed by ED.
Mehul Choksi, who is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of $2 billion along with his nephew, diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, fled India before the accusations came to light and said in Monday’s application that he could not disclose his location in public because of the threat to his life.
Among several legal and factual challenges raised by Choksi against the warrant, it is stated that his non-appearance before authorities in India was due to “fear of mob lynching”. In his application, Choksi stated the trend of mob lynching in India.
Choksi’s lawyer said that a lack of prosecutions in lynching cases is encouraging more mob violence. Those with grievances against Choksi, who owns Gitanjali Gems, include employees who have not been paid, families of detained employees and various creditors, he said.
Along with this, Choksi has filed another application, under Section 44 of the PMLA, seeking joint trial of the cases registered by ED and CBI. The case by CBI under Section 420 IPC r/w Section 13(2) & 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act is pending before the Court of Special Judge CBI, Mumbai.
Choksi and Modi are accused of colluding with a handful of bankers to secure credit from overseas banks using fraudulent guarantees. Both have denied the allegations.