Gitanjali Gems owner Mehul Choksi, who is absconding after being named in the Rs 13,400-crore PNB scam case, has accused the Enforcement Directorate of leveling "false and baseless" charges against him. In a video interview released by news agency ANI on Twitter, Choksi goes on to say that the ED has illegally attached his properties.
"All the allegations by the ED are false and baseless. They have attached my properties illegally without there being any basis of the same," Mehul Choksi says in the video, purportedly from his hideout in Antigua, replying to a question on the ED's charges against him. The ED had accused Choksi of setting up shell companies to route money, secured through false Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), to offshore accounts and companies.
The questions from ANI were posed to Choksi by his lawyer in Antigua. Choksi has taken citizenship in Antigua.
The fugitive businessman had fled India along with his nephew Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the PNB scam, in January, nearly a fortnight before the scam was detected. The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in January this year, after which PNB officials reported it to the probe agencies.
Both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have refused to join the investigations in spite of repeated summons by the agencies to appear for questioning.
Choksi has cited threat to his life, health condition, media bias, and poor jail conditions in his appeal before the Interpol to stall issuance of Red Corner Notice against him, they said.
The issue will now be put before an internal five-member committee of the Interpol which will hear the plea of Choksi and arguments of Indian agencies in October before deciding the issue.