Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed a special court here not to pass a final order for four weeks on a plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking to declare diamond merchant Mehul Choksi a Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO).
Justice A M Badar Tuesday said the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court shall not pass a final order for four weeks.
The high court posted Choksi’s petition against the proceedings in the lower court for hearing after four weeks.
Choksi, a prime accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, is presently in Antigua. He said in an affidavit filed before the high court that he can not return to India due to ill-health.
He also claimed that he left India in January 2018 to undergo a bypass surgery and not to avoid prosecution.
He would return to India if he is medically fit, he added.
Justice Badar said the lower court can carry on with the proceedings on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) application, but it shall not pass any final order for now.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding PNB to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore in collusion with a few bank employees by fraudulently obtaining Letters of Undertaking, a form of credit guarantee given to overseas banks.
In December last year, the special court declared Modi a Fugitive Economic Offender. Declaration as an FEO enables investigating agencies to seize the person’s properties.