PNB scam: ED's allegations are baseless, claims Mehul Choksi
Beleaguered diamantaire Mehul Choksi on Tuesday said all allegations leveled on him by the Enforcement Directorate are false and baseless.
Choksi, who is living in Antigua after being granted a citizenship in the country, answered the questions asked by his lawyer.
One of the prime accused in the multi-crore PNB scam, Choksi said ED attached his properties without any basis.
Backstory: Choksi, Nirav Modi are main accused in PNB scam
Choksi, his nephew Nirav Modi, and others are being investigated by ED and other agencies after the PNB fraud came to light this year. They allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of Rs. 12,000cr, with the purported involvement of some PNB employees.
ED and CBI registered two FIRs each to probe the case. However, Choksi and Modi left India before criminal cases were lodged.
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When asked why he ran away, Choksi said he didn't
In an earlier interview to HT, Choksi was asked why he ran away from India. Denying it, he said he was already abroad receiving treatment for cardiac ailments when FIR was registered.
He said he had a lot of immovable property in India and that he created many jobs.
"Why would a person invest so much if he intends to run away," he said.
Further, Choksi claims his illness prohibits him from traveling
When Choksi was asked why he hasn't returned to India if he doesn't intend to run away, he said his passport was revoked for being a 'security threat' to India.
He added he is undergoing medical treatment abroad.
"I have an apprehension that I may be denied proper and necessary medical treatment once I am arrested on my return to India," he said.
My life is in threat in India, says Choksi
"The manner in which the events unfolded in the last six months makes it clear that my life would be in danger in India. There have been cases of mob lynching, and in one an accused was lynched while being inside a jail," he said.
"Easier to go after me, not ones staying in UK"
Choksi said he was being made a scapegoat now that elections are approaching. He added talking about his extradition from Antigua was easier than others who are staying in the UK.
He said there were complacencies in bank operations, systems, and bank officials were charged for not doing the job properly.
"The bank is squarely liable for the lapses," he said.
Can't return the money, says Choksi
About the money he owes to PNB, Choksi said his brand value was now zero and they should take it from ED. "I am in no position to return any money," he said.
He also said contrary to popular belief he wasn't living a luxurious life in Antigua, and that his case has become a media trial, with prejudices being the viewing lens.
Enforcement Directorate (ED)