Mehul Choksi Case Timeline: It has become difficult to bring back the wanted and fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi in the 13,000 crore bank scam in India. The High Court of the Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda on Friday (April 14) ruled in a case that Mehul Choksi cannot be removed from Antigua and Barbuda. This order of the court is a big blow for the Government of India.
Earlier in March too, the CBI’s efforts to bring Choksi to India suffered a setback when the Interpol withdrew the Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued against him. Due to which he was allowed to move freely around the world. Know what has happened so far in this matter.
Accused in PNB scam
Mehul Choksi along with his nephew Nirav Modi is an accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam. In February 2018, a case of cheating PNB was registered against Mehul Choksi, owner of Gitanjali Group, a company with about 4000 stores across the country. Mehul Choksi founded the Gitanjali Group in 1996, which is one of the largest jewelry business. Choksi got the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in December 2017.
Choksi fled the country in 2018
This case of fraud with PNB came to light in January 2018. PNB had given a complaint against diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi and others. The bank had alleged that he had committed a fraud of Rs 2.81 lakh crore. After the matter came to light, Choksi left the country in January 2018 and fled to Antigua and Barbuda.
Interpol issues red corner notice
The CBI started investigating the matter in February 2018. After which two employees of Punjab National Bank were arrested. While confiscating the passports of Nirav Modi and Choksi for four weeks, the Mumbai court had issued a bailable order against them. In December 2018, Interpol had issued a Red Corner notice against Choksi. In March 2019, the process of extradition of Choksi was started in Antigua and Barbuda.
In July 2019, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 24.77 crore of Choksi. In the same year, the CBI court refused to cancel the non-bailable warrant against Choksi. At the same time, SEBI imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on Gitanjali Gems. This penalty was imposed for violating the listing rules. Choksi was reported missing on 23 May 2021 in Antigua and Barbuda.
arrested in Dominica
Two days later, Choksi was arrested for illegally entering Dominica. Choksi’s lawyer argued that he is no longer a citizen of India, so he cannot be extradited to India. The government of Antigua had asked to extradite him directly from India. After this, on May 27, 2021, the Dominican government said that Choksi cannot go out till further orders.
Went back to Antigua after getting bail
India sent a private jet to bring Choksi back in June 2021, but the Dominican High Court refused to grant him bail and ordered him to be kept in a Dominican prison. Choksi was granted bail by the Dominican court in July 2021 and went back to Antigua for medical help. In February 2022, the Government of India informed the Supreme Court that Rs 18,000 crore was recovered from Modi, Choksi and Mallya.
Relief from Interpol and Dominica
Meanwhile, in May 2022, the local authorities of Dominica, giving relief to Choksi, removed the charges against him for entering the country illegally. After this, in March 2023, Interpol withdrew the Red Corner Notice issued against Choksi. Although the CBI raised the demand for the restoration of the notice. Now in April, 2023, the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda, giving great relief to Choksi, said that he cannot be removed from Antigua and Barbuda without a court order.
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