A special court of India’s top investigation agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday refused to cancel a non-bailable warrant issued against Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the Punjab National Bank scam.
In June 2018, Choksi sought the cancellation of the warrant that was issued after he failed to respond to a court summons and participate in the probe.
Last week, the court rejected a similar plea by the country’s economic intelligence agency Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Choksi claimed that he could not travel to India because of his medical condition and also because his life was under threat. He said he never sought to evade the country's law enforcement agencies and duly responded to all the communication received from them, the fugitive businessman’s lawyers contend.
However, the special CBI judge refused to cancel Choksi's warrant after hearing arguments by his lawyers and the CBI’s counsel.
Choksi, a diamond trader, is accused of defrauding the Indian government-run Punjab National Bank of over $194 million (Rs.13,500 crore) with the help of his nephew Nirav Modi.
In January 2018, Choksi surrendered his Indian passport and took up Antiguan citizenship. Meanwhile, his nephew Nirav Modi, is fighting extradition proceedings in the UK.