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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bombay HC restrains PMLA court from declaring Mehul Choksi fugitive economic offender for three weeks

The HC, by continuing its interim order, restrained the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court from pronouncing its final order in Enforcement Directorate (ED) application seeking that Chokshi be declared a FEO.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
June 29, 2021 2:03:34 am
mehul choksi pnb scamThe ED, in 2019, had moved an application before the PMLA court seeking that Choksi be declared a FEO under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. (File Photo)

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended for three weeks its interim order of January in connection to PNB Bank scam case accused Mehul Choksi being declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO) by a special court.

The HC, by continuing its interim order, restrained the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court from pronouncing its final order in Enforcement Directorate (ED) application seeking that Chokshi be declared a FEO.

A single judge bench of Justice A S Gadkari was on Monday hearing Choksi’s applications.

The ED, in 2019, had moved an application before the PMLA court seeking that Choksi be declared a FEO under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. As per the Act, a person can be declared a FEO if a warrant has been issued against him for an offence involving Rs 100 crore or more and if the person has left the country and refuses to return.

Choksi had moved HC to challenge ED’s application, filing two pleas — one seeking dismissal of the ED plea and another seeking permission to cross-examine the investigating officers and persons on whose statements the agency relied to seek that he be declared a FEO. Choksi’s lawyer had alleged procedural flaws in the ED affidavit filed before PMLA court.

The HC, last January, had directed the PMLA court to not pass a final judgment till it issues further orders. With the pandemic affecting functioning of courts soon after, the application is yet to come up for hearing.

On Monday, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, representing Choksi, sought time to file a brief rejoinder in the case, which the court said should be filed within two weeks. It will hear the case after three weeks.

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