Mehul Choksi Illegally Held Indian And Antiguan Passports: Investigators

Indian agencies are trying to get Choksi from Antigua, which accepted his citizenship application last year.

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Mehul Choksi and his firm Gitanjali Gems is accused in the massive PNB banking fraud. (File)

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Mehul Choksi wanted in India in Rs 13,000 crore PNB scam
  2. Indian agencies are trying to get him back from Antigua
  3. In video message from the country, Choksi denied all allegations

Mehul Choksi, accused in a Rs 13,000 crore bank fraud, illegally held an Antiguan passport even when his Indian passport had not been cancelled, investigators have said.

The fugitive businessman held two passports simultaneously and under Indian laws, dual citizenship is not allowed, said the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday.

"If he still wants to come to India, he has a valid Antiguan passport and can travel on that," an official said.

Even if he doesn't have one, the agency says, he could still come back as emergency travel documents can be made available to him for his travel.

Indian agencies are trying to get Choksi from Antigua, which accepted his citizenship application last year.

Choksi and his nephew, celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi, are both accused of using fake guarantees in the name of Punjab National Bank, India's second largest state-owned bank, to extract loans overseas.

Mehul Choksi today spoke on camera for the first time from Antigua. "All allegations against me are false and baseless," he said, speaking to news agency ANI.

"The Enforcement Directorate has attached my properties illegally without being any basis of the seen," he said, to questions asked on video by his lawyer in Antigua.

Mehul Choksi, who, along with nephew Nirav Modi fled India in January, said there was "no question of surrendering his passport" as it had been revoked "without explanation as to why I am a security threat".

He said he was "immobilized" because his passport had been revoked. "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.

The Enforcement Directorate has sent a reminder to Interpol about its application seeking a red corner notice or global warrant against Choksi.

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