Businessman Mehul Choksi has moved the Bombay high court seeking that the proceedings initiated against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has sought that he be declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO), be kept in abeyance.
Choksi, an accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud case worth £1.45 billion, moved the HC through senior lawyer Vijay Aggarwal. The ED, in 2019, had moved an application before the PMLA court seeking that Choksi be declared a FEO under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
As per the Act, a person can be declared a FEO if a warrant has been issued against him for an offence involving £10 million or more and if the person has left the country and refuses to return. Choksi claimed that he could not be declared as a fugitive accused person, since he had not left India to avoid criminal prosecution, but had left well before any FIRs were registered against him.
The businessman said that in July 2021, he was granted bail by a court in Dominica and had been permitted to travel to Antigua and Barbuda for medical treatment. However, Choksi was facing difficulties in travelling because of the ongoing proceedings before the special PMLA court, the petition stated.
Choksi’s lawyer said the businessman was not refusing to return to India, but was prevented from doing so due to his medical condition. The high court granted the ED time to file a reply and posted the matter for further hearing to December 21.