Nirav Modi, Choksi summoned before court; risk being declared as fugitives if they fail to do so

Days after reports of Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi’s whereabouts in Antigua and Barbuda came to light, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai issued fresh summons against PNB fraud accused Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi to appear before it, failing which they will be declared fugitive economic offenders.

Niram Modi and Mehul Choksi have been asked to appear before the court on September 26 and 27 respectively. The move comes following reports that Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the multi-crore PNB scam had moved to Antigua from the United States (US) and got a local passport.

Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Sanjay Abbot denied the issuance of any summons whereas Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal declined to comment on the issuance of the summons.

ED had recently moved the court seeking to declare the diamond traders as ‘fugitive economic offenders’ and to confiscate their assets worth Rs 3,500 crore in the case.

In March, Mehul Choksi in an email to the CBI claimed that “untenable” allegations had resulted in the “sudden closure” of his business and exposed him and his family to “threats”. In the same email, to CBI dated 16 March, Choksi also mentioned his medical condition and suspended passport as reasons for declining to join probe in the PNB fraud case. Nirav Modi has also refused to join the CBI investigation citing his business engagements.

Parliament yesterday only passed the fugitive bill by a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha had cleared this Bill on July 19.

The agency, early this month, had moved a similar application against businessman Vijay Mallya in the Rs 9,000-crore alleged bank loan fraud case and the court has summoned him for August 27.

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