New Delhi: Just two weeks after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) moved to seize fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi’s assets in India and abroad, Modi’s co-accused and uncle Mehul Choksi moved a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai, on Monday, for cancellation of the non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him.
Both Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi have been named as the prime accused in the ₹ 14,356 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
While the PMLA court had given the agency the go-ahead to issue the NBW against Choksi earlier this month, he has now challenged the warrant, claiming that he risks the chance of being “physically harmed" if he returns to India, according to the application filed in the Mumbai court.
The ED has now been given time till 18 August to respond.
“We have filed for cancellation of the NBW issued against Mehul Choksi because the NBW issued against him is illegal on several points. Once ED responds, we will take it from there" Mehul Choksi’s lawyer, Sanjay Abbot, told Mint.
At the same time, Interpol has yet to act upon the red corner notice (RCN) request against Choksi, sent by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
While Interpol had issued the RCN against Nirav Modi, his brother Neeshal Modi and their business executive Subhash Parab on 2 July, the RCN request against Choksi is still under process, even as Interpol mentioned last week that Choksi was not residing in the US.
However, senior officials, aware of the case, stated that the tussle regarding the NBW would not affect the CBI’s investigative procedure.
“The red corner notice is being processed by Interpol at the moment. However, Choksi moving the PMLA court for cancellation of the NBW will not interfere with CBI’s operations and investigations in the case and neither will it hamper the issuance of the RCN," said a person familiar with the developments.