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Mehul cites lynchings to cancel warrants against him

Mehul Choksi. File photo: Paul Noronha

Mehul Choksi. File photo: Paul Noronha  

Says he faces a threat to his life from ex-employees, debtors

Mehul Choksi, fugitive diamantaire and a key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam, moved an application before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai on Monday seeking the cancellation of the non-bailable warrants issued against him.

Mr. Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali Gems, said he feared he would be lynched if he was brought to India. The court issued the warrants in March and July on taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate. On June 27, Mr. Choksi filed an application for cancellation of the warrants issued by the CBI court.

In a press release issued through his advocate Sanjay Abbot, Mr. Choksi said, “There are various reported cases of mob lynching in India and the recent trend of mob lynching is growing.”

Mr. Choksi said he faced a threat to his life from his former employees and debtors as their dues had not been paid because of the freezing of his accounts. He would face threats of extortion by jail staff and a danger to his life from jail inmates.

He said, “As it became impossible for the applicant’s company to function and the employees were not paid their salaries and debtors did not get their money back, all these persons have become agitated against the applicant and he is now facing threat to his life.”

The application adds, “The poor conditions in the jail in India and the threat he would face from the other inmates who are hard earned criminals either convicted and/or being tried for offences like terrorism, sexual offences, murder, drug peddler, etc. which threat shall be faced during while in lock-up with others inmates while being ferried from jail to court and vice versa in the van along with other inmates.”

Mr. Choksi said, “The zeal to get information, by whatsoever means, including by third degree methods and torture is not unknown on the part of ED/Central Bureau of Investigation. The instance of family of B.K. Bansal, who committed suicide due to the alleged “torture” by the CBI, was stated.

The application said, “If he had the intention to run away from the jurisdiction of the court or from the country then he would not have left property worth crore in the country. This fact is clear from various seizures made by the ED, wherein the agency has seized articles worth more than ₹5,000 crore. It is commercial common sense that the PNB could have recovered all its dues from the properties itself.”

The application also makes a reference to the “injustice meted out to the other accused like illegal arrest of Kavita Mankikar, denial of permission to meet to Hemant Bhatt to meet his counsel and production of Aniyath Nair post 24 hours of his arrest.” Special PMLA Judge Salman Azmi has posted the matter for further hearing on August 18.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mehul-cites-lynchings-to-cancel-warrants-against-him/article24498447.ece

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