Vastavam web: One of the main defendants in India’s largest bank fraud case made a court application on Monday for cancellation of an arrest warrant against him, citing fears for his life because of a growing number of mob lynchings in the country. Mehul Choksi, who is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of $2 billion along with his nephew, diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, fled India before the accusations came to light and said in Monday’s application that he could not disclose his location in public because of the threat to his life.
Fake news messages on alleged child abductors circulating on WhatsApp, and via text messages and word of mouth, have led to a spate of mob lynchings in the country. Those with grievances against Choksi, who owns Gitanjali Gems, include employees who have not been paid, families of detained employees and various creditors, he said. Choksi and Modi are accused of colluding with a handful of bankers to secure credit from overseas banks using fraudulent guarantees. Both have denied the allegations.
Choksi has been highly critical of investigating agencies, alleging that the seizure of his assets, bank accounts and the shutting down of all his offices in India has caused prejudice against him. A special court for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act had issued a non-bailable warrant against Choksi this month after the Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes in India, filed charges against Choksi and his associates last month.