For “some reason” Mehul Choksi’s doctor in Antigua is refusing to treat him, he has claimed, and this is making it impossible for the fraud-accused diamantaire to provide proof to a court in India that he is unable to travel to face the charges against him in relation to the multi-billion-dollar fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
This is according to a report from ndtv.com (India news) coming out of a hearing in the Bombay High Court on Monday.
Choksi, who obtained citizenship here through investment in Antigua and Barbuda, and then moved to the Eastern Caribbean island just before he was fingered in the fraud, did not publicly name the doctor who is allegedly refusing to treat him. Through his lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, Choksi has informed the court that he will provide, via sealed documents, the doctor’s reason for not treating him.
The accused had challenged the proceedings initiated against him in a lower court by India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare him a fugitive economic offender in the scam which amounts to billions of US dollars.
In June this year, the high court in Bombay directed the accused to submit his latest medical reports along with a letter from his doctor in Antigua, to a team of doctors in India.
This was after he claimed in another petition that he was unable to travel back to India due to his persistent ill health, which allegedly includes a serious heart condition.
After failing to produce the documents from Antigua when this petition came up for hearing this week, Choksi’s lawyer said his client would have to seek the documents from the Miami facility where he was operated upon prior to going to Antigua.
It was in reaction to this that the ED’s advocate Hiten Venegaonkar asked the court to dismiss Choksi’s plea.
After hearing brief arguments from the two sides, the high court said Choksi’s main ground for not returning to India to face prosecution is that he is medically unfit to travel.
“But when you [Choksi] are not giving documents to support this claim, then you withdraw this petition,” said Justice Mahanty according to ndtv.com.
Choksi’s lawyer agreed and withdrew the petition and, at this point, the next step is unclear. What is known is that Choksi still has an appeal pending in Antigua and Barbuda regarding India’s request to extradite him from the twin-island Caribbean country.
Choksi’s nephew, Nirav Modi, who is in a London jail, is also accused of crimes in relation to the same matter with the PNB.