NEW DELHI:Fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi, who is under the scanner of investigating agencies following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank (PNB), has written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that it is “impossible” for him to return to the country since his passport has been suspended.
In response to the CBI summons, Choksi in a seven-page letter claimed, “I am not in a position to travel due to my persisting health problem. I had a cardiac procedure which was conducted in the first week of February 2018 and there is still pending work to be done on the same. The entire procedure could not be completed on all veins due to danger to kidney and therefore I am not allowed to travel for at least a period of four to six months.”
The CBI had sent the first summons to Choksi and Nirav Modi, on February 19 asking them to appear before the investigating team the next day on February 20. Another summon was sent to Choksi on February 23 asking him to appear on February 26. Both Choksi and Modi were sent fresh summons on February 28 asking them to join the probe on March 7. Both Choksi and Modi replied to the CBI’s summons on March 7.
CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said,” Joining investigation in a criminal case legally obligatory upon the accused persons. Instead of joining the probe, Choksi and Modi are citing extraneous reasons to evade the summons. They have been repeatedly violating the summons.” Dayal said they have neither revealed their whereabouts s nor approached the Indian High Commission where they are staying.
Meanwhile, the CBI has registered a fresh case against Nirav Modi and executives of his firms following a fresh complaint from PNB alleging a fraud of Rs 321.88 crore. The case was registered on March 4 and searches were conducted at the premises of Modi-promoted firms Firestar International Ltd and Firestar Diamonds Ltd at 11 locations on Wednesday including in Mumbai, Kalyan, Thane, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Gurugram. The agency also conducted searches at eight locations on Thursday at the premises of Choksi’s firms in Mumbai and Chennai.
Besides, Modi, CFO of Firestar International Ravi Shankar Gupta and Vice President (Finance) of the firm Vipul Ambani, other directors of the firm a have been named as accused in the case.