Mehul Choksi masterminded PNB scam: Indian authorities tell Dominican court
Diamantaire Mehul Choksi masterminded the Rs. 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, Indian authorities told Dominica's High Court of Justice on Saturday. Reportedly, in an affidavit submitted to the court, Indian authorities sought to establish Choksi's fugitive status, arguing that he was the scam's chief conspirator and main beneficiary. Despite repeated summons, he has not joined the probe in India, the affidavit said.
Indian authorities seek to join Dominican case against Choksi
The affidavit has been filed before the court as part of an impleadment application filed on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Indian authorities have sought to join the case against Choksi. The affidavit stated that Choksi masterminded the scam and conspired with bank officials to illegally obtain letters of undertaking (LoUs), India Today reported.
Affidavit also mentions Interpol notice against Choksi
The affidavit also includes evidence of the scam—discovered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED)—which points to the layering of funds and money laundering through dummy firms and market operators. Allegations of "round-tripping" are also listed, which, investigators say, took place in a fraudulent manner in countries, including Dubai, Hong Kong, etc. The affidavit also mentions the "red corner" notice against Choksi by Interpol.
CBI, ED to focus on scam; MEA to address citizenship
If the plea is accepted, Harish Salve will likely represent the Indian authorities in the Dominican High Court. Sources told India Today that a number of officials from multiple agencies are currently present in Dominica. The CBI and ED will focus on the PNB scam to establish Choksi's fugitive status, they said. Meanwhile, the MEA will raise the issue of Choksi's citizenship.
Choksi has secured citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda
Before fleeing to Antigua and Barbuda in 2018, Choksi had secured citizenship of the country. Since India does not allow dual citizenship, Choksi effectively ceased to be an Indian citizen, legal experts say. However, India is still looking to extradite him.
Choksi arrested in Dominica for illegal entry
Choksi had reportedly gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23. The next day, he was found in Dominica and was placed under arrest for illegal entry. Choksi's legal team informed authorities that he was honey-trapped, abducted, assaulted, and brought to Dominica. On June 2, a magistrate's court in Dominica denied him bail. He was then declared a "prohibited immigrant" in the country.