PMLA court gives Mehul Choksi more time to respond to ED plea
The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that had summoned the jeweller Mehul Choksi for a hearing on September 26 has given him until October 30 to respond to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) complaint against him.
Choksi did not appear in court as requested on Wednesday but his lawyer, Sanjay Abbot, did and told the court’s judge, M S Azmi, that Choksi had been provided with a copy of the ED’s complaint and needs more time to reply. In response to this, the court gave Choksi an extended deadline until October 30 to file his reply to the ED.
The ED is currently trying to issue a Red Corner Notice against Choksi through Interpol. However, it has assured that this is not required to start extradition discussions. If the Red Corner Notice is issued, Choksi would legally be named a “fugitive” under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
Choksi has been accused of playing a large role in the Rs 13,500 crore ($2 billion) fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) along with his nephew, the jeweller Nirav Modi.
Choksi fled India last year before news of the scandal broke and took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. Indian authorities are currently in discussions with the country in an attempt to extradite Choksi to India so that he can stand trial.
However, Choksi has voiced through his lawyer that he does not wish to return, fearing a mob lynching for his alleged crimes.
Nirav Modi also failed to appear in court as requested on Tuesday and was given until October 29 to file his reply to the ED.
Two separate applications have been filed against Modi and Choksi in the case and Modi’s brother and sister have also been summoned to court in connection with the case.
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