Jeweller Mehul Choksi, a co-accused in the Rs 12,700 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, has said that the manner in which the allegations have been exaggerated has left him “completely defenseless”, adding that he fears for his safety.
In a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) dated March 16, Choksi said he was extremely held up in his business abroad and was working hard to resolves the issues it is facing due to the “unnecessary closure of business in India” due to “untenable allegations”.
Earlier this month, the CBI wrote another letter to accused Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi telling them that they are obliged to join the investigation. Adding that the agency is not convinced by their excuses, the CBI said that both Choksi and Modi have not disclosed their location despite repeatedly asking them to do so.
Responding to CBI’s letter, Choksi said,” At the outset, I wish to bring to your kind attention that till date the Regional Passport Office has not communicated with me and my passport continues to remain suspended. I have the deepest respect for your good offices and therefore I assure your good offices that I am not making any excuse, whatsoever to travel to India.”
The Gitanjali Gems promoter also blamed the media for conducting “trial by itself” and blowing “each and every issue out of proportion”.
“At the cost of repetition, I state that I had earlier expressed my apprehension and concern for my family’s and my safety. The threat to me and my family continues, and I am still being threatened by individuals with whom I had business relationships. As there has been a complete and sudden closure of my business, my employees, customers, creditors etc have started to show their animosity towards me,” Choksi stated in his letter.
The absconding businessman also expressed concerns over his health and well-being.
“Further, as earlier stated, I am unable to travel to India due to my persisting health condition. In February, 2018, a cardiac procedure was conducted and medical follow ups’ still remain and as the entire procedure could not be completed, I have been advised to not travel for a period of 4 to 6 months. The said situation still remains, thus I expected your agency shall consider on humanitarian grounds,” he insisted.
He also requested the CBI to communicate with him on his Yahoo email ID or his advocate Sanjay Abbot “in respect of any issues which you consider is needed to be addressed to me concerning the investigation”. Choksi was summoned by the CBI to appear before it on March 7.
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Both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had illegally obtained LoUs from the Punjab National Bank to avail loans from lenders abroad and then defaulted on them. The CBI and Enforcement Directorate are currently investigating the fraud case.
Earlier last month, Choksi had written a letter to his employees in which he informed them that it is very tough for him to clear their dues or to pay future salaries, “in view of the seizing of the various bank accounts and other properties.”
Choksi asked his employees to look for other career opportunities. He also told them to retain their office laptops and mobile phones till their dues are cleared. READ MORE