New Delhi, Sept 12, 2018 : One of India’s most wanted in a Rs. 13,000 crore bank fraud case, Mehul Choksi, who fled the country in January, has blamed the government for the uncertain future he says his 6,000 employees and shareholders are facing. Speaking on camera for the second time from Antigua, where he has been living, Mehul Choksi said he had been living in "terror" just because of a "wrong complaint" filed earlier.
"My bank accounts were frozen, my merchandise was taken, my server was taken, all within one week’s time. Before I came back from the hospital, nobody was working for my company," Mehul Choksi said. Choksi had said that he was on treatment in USA and that was why he was unable to return in February.
The government has been trying to extradite the jeweller, who left India with his nephew, celebrity diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, and went to live in Antigua and Barbuda, which granted him citizenship of last year.
There is "no question of surrendering passport", Mehul Choksi said, as it had been revoked "without explanation as to why I am a security threat".
Holding the government accountable for the future of the shareholders and 6000 employees of Gitanjali Jewellers, Mehul Choksi questioned if "any company in the world or India" has been closed down within a week.
"What will happen to my shareholders? What will happen to my people? What will happen to handicapped people that have been hired in the company? Why didn’t anybody think about it...before deciding to shut the company in one day?" he said.
Mehul Choksi is wanted by multiple agencies who are still investigating the Rs. 13,000 crore fraud at India’s second largest state owned bank, the Punjab National Bank. Offshoots of the fraud are still being probed by agencies.
The bank has said its officials at a branch in Mumbai had helped Nirav Modi and others get credit in violation of rules. The fraud was revealed earlier this year when Nirav Modi’s companies sought a fresh loan.
Mehul Choksi has alleged that the cases against him are a result of political conspiracy, after which India’s extradition request was put on hold by the Interpol.