Economy

Mehul Choksi the ‘mastermind’ of PNB scam, says ED

Our Bureaus/ Agencies Mumbai/New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2018 Published on July 27, 2018

Mehul Choksi   -  PAUL NORONHA

The chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Mehul Choksi in a Mumbai court has alleged that he was the “mastermind” behind the PNB scam. Choksi owes ₹6,086.29 crore to 34 other Indian banks, the ED has said.

A Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court here has already issued summons against diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi in connection with the scam and asked them to appear before it in September or be declared Fugitive Economic Offenders. Terming Choksi the kingpin of the scam, the ED said he designed the scheme under the garb of import and export.

Meanwhile, a US Bankruptcy court has also issued summons for the examination of Nirav Modi, recognising PNB’s claim on proceeds of any asset sold by Nirav Modi’s US debtors. The Indian government, in its petition against bankruptcy proceedings of Nirav Modi entities in the US court, had sought that PNB be made party to the sale of any assets of his entities.

Separately, the CBI has also written to authorities in Antigua, seeking details about Choksi after he refused to return to India. In a statement, Choksi said he had lawfully applied for Antiguan citizenship to expand business.

“I can state that I lawfully applied to be registered as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under the Citizenship by Investment Program...I did all that was lawfully required of me to do. My application for citizenship was in due course approved. My application was motivated by my desire to expand my business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa-free travel access to 130 or so countries....In January 2018, I had a need to visit the US to receive medical treatment... I am still in a state of convalescence. That being the case I have decided to reside in Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.

In Delhi, a specially convened meeting of the PNB board discussed the future course of action on Executive Directors Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, who were divested of their responsibilities following the Nirav Modi scam.

“The board meeting was specially convened to discuss the matter of the two EDs. The board’s opinion would be conveyed to the Department of Financial Services,” a PNB official said.

Published on July 27, 2018
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