The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has offered to provide an air ambulance and a team of medical experts to bring back fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, from Antigua and provide him with all necessary treatment in India.
In a counter affidavit submitted before the High Court, Enforcement Directorate has termed the affidavit submitted earlier this week by Mr Choksi as a “facade” in which the fugitive has 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 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 probe agency said in its counter affidavit.
The central agency further said that Mehul Choksi has never cooperated in the investigation into the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab and National Bank scam.
The agency also informed that Mr Choksi claims that his assets worth Rs 6,129 crore have been seized, it is wrong because during probe Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 2,100 crore assets. The Enforcement Directorate also maintained that Mr Choksi was trying to sell all his assets before fleeing from India.
"He (Mehul Choksi) never co-operated in the investigation. A non-bailable warrant was issued against him. A Red Notice was issued by the Interpol. He has refused to return, he is, therefore, a fugitive and an absconder," the probe agency said.
The law enforcement agency in its rejoinder has said that Mr Choksi was given several opportunities to join the probe but he evaded questioning.
This development in the case came after Mehul Choksi had submitted an affidavit in the Mumbai High Court stating that he is living in Antigua and was willing to co-operate in the investigation into the scam.
Showing his willingness to cooperate with the investigating agencies -- Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) -- he sought a direction to them to conduct the investigation in Antigua.
Mehul Choksi also said that he will travel to India as soon as he is medically fit to travel.
"I am ready to undergo any medical examination by an authority to prove the veracity of the claims made by me," he added.
He said that the claim made by the Enforcement Directorate that he is not joining the probe is wrong.
He further said that has never shied away from facing the law and responded to the summons by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other investigating agency.
Mehul Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi are key accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud case. They left the country a year ago. The scam is estimated at USD two billion.
He was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018.
On March 22, Mehul Choksi had moved an application before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, stating his long history of heart ailment and a blood clot in the brain as the reason for not being able to appear before it.
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