PNB scam: Bombay HC seeks report from JJ Hospital doctors on Mehul Choksi's health; Antigua to revoke citizenship

The Bombay High Court Monday sought a sealed report from an expert team of doctors at the state-run JJ Hospital on the medical condition of diamantaire Mehul Choksi and if he was in a position to travel.

Choksi, accused of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam, is presently in Antigua and has told the high court that he is unable to travel to India due to ill health.

The bench on Monday directed Choksi's advocate to submit all of his client's latest medical reports to the team of doctors at the JJ Hospital's cardiology department.

The hospital shall, on 9 July, submit the sealed report to the court with its opinion on whether Choksi can travel, the bench said. The court will hear the plea on 10 July.

Choksi has claimed that he left India in January 2018 to undergo bypass surgery and not to avoid prosecution. In an affidavit filed in the HC, he said he would return to India if he is medically fit.

 PNB scam: Bombay HC seeks report from JJ Hospital doctors on Mehul Choksis health; Antigua to revoke citizenship

File image of Mehul Choksi. Twitter

According to Mumbai Mirror, the ED told the high court that Choksi’s right to legal defense should be withdrawn because of his flagrant abuse of the Indian law. Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister said that his country will revoke Choksi’s citizenship and send him back to India. “We will not harbor those involved in the financial crimes,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.

Earlier, the ED had told the court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring Choksi to India from Antigua.

In a counter affidavit submitted before the High Court, ED had termed as "a facade" an affidavit submitted earlier last week by Choksi in which he claimed that he is unable to return to India due to persistent health problems.

"The medical reasons and conditions appear to be facades being erected merely to mislead the court in an obvious attempt to delay the lawful proceedings. We are ready to provide an expert medical team along with an air ambulance to bring him from Antigua to India under medical supervision," the ED stated in its counter affidavit.

The central agency further stated that Choksi has never cooperated in the investigation into the Rs 13,000 crore PNB scam.

The agency also informed that Choksi claims that his assets worth Rs 6,129 crore have been seized is wrong because during its probe ED has attached assets worth Rs 2,100 crore assets. The ED also maintained that the fugitive diamantaire was trying to sell all his assets before fleeing from India.

A division bench of justices IA Mahanty and AM Badar is presently hearing a petition filed by Choksi challenging an application filed by the ED seeking to declare him a fugitive economic offender.

With inputs from agencies.

Updated Date: Jun 25, 2019 15:10:42 IST