3 Min Read | June 04, 2021
“We are going to appeal to the Queen of England to free Mehul Choksi.”
Not everyone thinks to appeal to the Queen of England for something.
Then again, not everyone is Mehul Choksi.
One of the main culprits of the PNB fraud case, Mehul Choksi’s name has been making headlines for a few days now.
Are you wondering why?
Has Mehul Choksi been arrested?
Why does he need to be freed?
Here is a glimpse of a report by the Indian Express:
“Choksi was detained in Dominica for illegal entry after his mysterious disappearance from neighbouring Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda where he was staying since 2018 after fleeing from India in January that year.”
Yes, dear Convey Warriors.
One of the prime PNB scam fraudsters, Mehul Choksi, has been arrested. Unfortunately, it was not by the Indian government. The Indian-born fugitive diamantaire’s arrest was full of drama as was his escape from India after the scam. Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi’s criminal escapades took the entire country by storm!
If you have been too busy to catch up on this trending saga from the finance world, here is a short read to keep you updated.
Mehul Chinubhai Choksi is a fugitive businessman and the owner of Gitanjali Gems, a popular jewellery company in India. Although born and brought up in India, his status remains as ‘fugitive’ because this diamantaire escaped from the country after pulling off the PNB Scam in 2018.
The accurate figure of Mehul Choksi’s net worth is unknown, although a few unofficial websites estimate it to be between $1-5 million.
Since then, the Indian government has been making all efforts to bring the accused of the scam back to India. He needs to pay for draining out a huge sum of hard-earned public money!
Back in 2018, when state-run Punjab National Bank revealed that it had been scammed by two businessmen, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the nation was left in utter shock!
The PNB Scam case is known as one of the biggest scams involving an Indian bank and a whopping sum of Rs 13,500 crores pumped out of Punjab National Bank.
How, you must be wondering?
Well, the wealthy businessmen shook hands with a few of the PNB officials to carry out the fraud. It involved the issuance of forged letters of undertaking (LOUs) to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi by the bank.
When the scam came out, PNB was with a default of Rs. 13,600 crores.
But, being ‘big and resourceful businessmen’, both of them flew off the coop before the scam was unveiled!
The nephew (Nirav Modi) escaped to London and the uncle (Mehul Choksi) escaped to Antigua and Barbuda.
Oh! Yes, you read it right!
If you were wondering about Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi’s relation, Nirav Modi is the nephew of Mehul Choksi.
Let me give a quick update on the charges against Mehul Choksi.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have imposed criminal proceedings upon him.
At first, CBI charged Mehul Choksi, his firm Gitanjali Gems and a few others for causing a significant loss to Punjab National Bank in 2018. It was followed by a complaint issued by ED against him for laundering the siphoned money (from the bank) to overseas banks.
In a nutshell, Mehul Choksi has been charged under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
You will be surprised to know that before the scam came into the public eye in 2018, Mehul Choksi had already absconded from the nation!
This shrewd fraudster had already applied for Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship in 2017. By January 2018, he successfully obtained citizenship and flew to the island.
Back in India, when CBI and ED started investigating, he was called by the authorities for questioning but he never came. Finally, in March 2018, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him. Meanwhile, Interpol also issued charges against him.
Undeterred by the manhunt, Choksi kept living a luxurious life in Antigua and Barbuda.
India has been trying to extradite Mehul Choksi and bring him back to face the music. The diamantaire has proved to be very slippery however and evaded the authorities again and again.
“Karma has no menu; you get served what you deserve.”
Well, this popular quote fits Mehul Choksi’s current situation perfectly.
He has finally been caught!
How did it happen?
Well, dear Convey Warriors, you will be happy to know that the backstory of his arrest is as dramatic as the plot of any thriller movie!
Keep reading to find out how the events unfolded.
On May 23, Mehul Choksi’s family reported him missing. His lawyer Wayne Marsh said he was abducted by an Antiguan and Indian looking policeman while going for dinner.
On May 26, Mehul Choksi showed up again with black eyes and bruises on his arms. He was officially arrested by the Dominican police soon after that.
Now, the question is, where was Mehul Choksi?
What was he doing between May 23 and May 26?
How did he get the bruises?
The plot thickens, dear Convey Warriors!
The investigative agencies the kidnapping tale is not true.
The common consensus is, Mehul Choksi got wind of the fact that Interpol had issued a circular against him. Desperate, he tried to escape Dominica through Cuba. His plan would have worked if the local police hadn’t caught him at the last minute.
It is still unclear which of the above claims is true, but the good news is that the fugitive diamantaire is caught after all!
On May 31st, News 18 reported –
“Top officials in the central government had confirmed to CNN-News 18 that a plane had been sent to Dominica to bring back Choksi. A private plane was deliberately hired from a third country. This flight was chartered from Qatar and came to Delhi on May 27. From Delhi, it flew to Madrid with Indian officials where it halted for refuelling and proceeded to Dominica.”
The private jet carried along all the necessary documents required for the deportation of Mehul Choksi. The report has been confirmed by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne.
Further, Prime Minister Gaston has requested the Dominican authorities to directly deport Mehul Choksi to India instead of Antigua. He has requested the same because Mehul Choksi has legal citizenship in Antigua and he could seek protection against deportation.
It is in the best interest of all the three nations involved to ensure a swift conviction for the fraudster.
So far, the Dominican government has agreed to cooperate. All we can do is hope he comes back and finally pays his dues!
Hope you enjoyed knowing about the PNB Scam, Mehul Choksi and the current happenings in the case. For more such updates keep tuning in to our platform, Convey.
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