IT’S TIME TO BELL THE PARTNERS IN CRIME
After Vijay Mallya’s status promotion to FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDER, last month, it’s time to catch Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi. Yesterday, Bank Fraud Fugitive Mehul Choksi, had surrendered his Indian Passport to the High Commission in Guyana, official sources said. Indian Citizens are expected to pursue Choksi’ s return with the Government of Antigua, through diplomatic and legal channels the sources also confirmed. In August last year, India gave Antigua a request for Choksi’ s extradition. A team from India was also sent to Antigua to pursue the request.
“Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, in connivance with certain bank officials, allegedly cheated PNB of about Rs. 14000 crores through issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LOU). Choksi and Nirav Modi fled the country in January last year before the country’s biggest banking scam was unearthed. A Mumbai branch of PNB had fraudulently issued LOU’s for the group of Companies belonging to Nirav Modi since March 2011. The total number of LOU’s issued to the Companies of Nirav Modi, his relatives and the Nirav Modi Group are 1213 and to Mehul Choksi, his relatives and the Gitanjali Group are 377”.
The CBI has already filed charge sheet in this case. The Charge sheet had mentioned names of many employees and top management, including former Managing Directors and Executive Directors of the bank. The Government has issued NON-BAILABLE WARRANTS against both Choksi and Nirav Modi and Interpol red notices are out too.
It’s imperative, that in October 2018, The Enforcement Directorate provisionally attached assets worth over Rs. 218 crores belonging to Mehul Choksi and others in India and abroad. These included a Rs.27 crores villa in the UAE, in the Diamantaire’s name and a flat in Trump Tower in Mumbai worth Rs.1.7 crores belonging to his daughter.
The Enforcement Directorate has been investigating the scam since February 14, last year, when it registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. So far, the agency has attached assets worth over Rs.4488 crores.
The officials confirmed, a flat in the US worth Rs.51 crores, having beneficial ownership of Mihir Bhansali has also been attached. Bhansali is a close associate of Nirav Modi and is accused in the scam. He was involved in alleged laundering of funds Modi had received from PNB, through letters of undertaking. After investigating agencies registered cases against Modi, Bhansali transferred ownership of the US flat to a third party on February 28th last year for US$ 10 to mislead agencies and escape attachment”.
Time has come for both, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi to be extradited and they can no longer be the fugitives on the run, they are made accountable for all their mis-deeds and no longer escape the Government, Banks or the Enforcement Directorate.
IT’S TIME TO BELL THE PARTNERS IN CRIME !!
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.