CBI opposes Choksi’s bail plea in Dominican HC

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Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai |
Updated: June 13, 2021 1:14:49 am

Mehul Choksi

The CBI has approached the Dominican High Court, opposing the bail application of fugitive diamond jeweller Mehul Choksi, currently in the custody of Dominican police.

Choksi has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs 13,600 crore. An affidavit filed by Sharda Raut, deputy inspector general of police, CBI said, Choksi is an “international fugitive who continues to evade law enforcement in India”.

The affidavit says Choksi is the “mastermind” of the fraud who “conspired with officials of the bank to unauthorizedly raise credit by abusing the procedures of the bank and over a period of time (between January to May 2017) managed to obtain such credit of an amount of approximately $950 million which remains outstanding”.

According to the affidavit, “The allegations, in respect of which evidence has now been unearthed, also relate to layering of funds, and laundering money using dummy companies and market operators, round tripping in the guise of fraudulent export import transactions with entities in countries like Dubai and Hong Kong…”

The CBI also said Choksi is fully aware of the proceedings in India and has appointed lawyers in India to fight his case. The agency also dismissed Choksi’s offer to be questioned by CBI outside India.

“The question of interviewing Mr Mehul Choksi at a place of his choice simply does not arise. There is a large volume of evidence, oral and documentary, with which he is to be confronted. Besides, he has to be produced in an Indian court to face proceedings under Indian laws,” CBI said.

Choksi’s lawyer in India, Vijay Aggarwal, said the facts stated in the CBI affidavit are not relevant for the bail application that is being heard by the Dominican court.

“There is no res judicata in bail applications, we have a liberty to reapply for bail. Every day in custody is a fresh circumstance and bail can be re-applied. Court has not ruled on merits but only on the ground that we need to satisfy the court about my client‘s presence in Dominica…” he said.

“We are not much bothered about the affidavits of Indian agencies because facts stated therein are not relevant considerations before the bail court.”

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