In his first interview since the multi-crore rupee Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam came to light, fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi on Tuesday said all allegations levelled against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are “false and baseless” and his properties were seized illegally without there being any basis of the same.
Choksi is the prime accused in the more than $2 billion PNB scam along with his nephew Nirav Modi, and is currently in Antigua.
Responding to news agency ANI questions, which were asked by his lawyer in Antigua, Choksi said he tried to revoke the suspension of his passport with the Indian authorities.
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“The passport authorities revoked my passport altogether in view of which I was immobilise. 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 added that the Indian authorities did give 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,” he alleged.
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Choksi, in an interview to Hindustan Times, had recently said that he was a “victim of political persecution” and a “soft target” for the Indian government because it is finding it “impossible” to get other people wanted for economic crimes extradited from the UK.
Chokshi was, however, confident that the government of his new country would “protect its citizen” in accordance with the law of the land.