Speaking from an undisclosed location in Antigua, Mehul Choksi, one of the key accused in the Rs 13,600 crore PNB scam, has termed the allegations levelled by the Enforcement Directorate as “false and baseless”.
“All the allegations levelled by the ED are false and baseless. They (the ED) have attacked my properties illegally without there being any basis of the same,” he said in an undated video made available to news agency ANI.
Choksi was replying to a set of questions sent by ANI and that were asked by his lawyer in Antigua.
Choksi claimed that he tried to revoke the suspension of his passport with the Indian authorities. “The passport authorities revoked my passport altogether in view of which I was immobilized. On February 16, I received an email from the passport office which said that my passport has been suspended due to reasons of security threat to India. On February 20, I sent an email to the regional passport office, Mumbai, requesting them to revoke the suspension of my passport. However, I did not receive any reply from the regional passport office,” he said.
Choksi further alleged that he was not given a reason for the cancellation of his passport.
“The regional passport office did not give an explanation as to why my passport has been suspended and how I was a security threat to India. Hence, as my passport was suspended, there was no question of surrendering the same,” stated Choksi.
— ANI (@ANI) September 11, 2018
The ED’s request for an Interpol Red Notice (RN) against Choksi has been pending for months. Choksi has acquired citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda and is said to be presently hiding in the Caribbean country. The government has sent an extradition request to the country to bring him back to India.
The fugitive jeweller has previously opposed the CBI’s plea to the Interpol seeking a red corner notice against him on the ground that “the conditions in Indian jails are not good”.
In his plea before the Interpol, while Choksi claimed that the jails “violate human rights conditions”, he has also alleged that a media trial was in progress against him and the judicial system may be influenced.