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Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi Fled India Because Probe Agencies Didn’t Arrest On Time: Court

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A Special PMLA court in Mumbai said that fugitive Indian businessmen Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, and Mehul Choksi fled the country because the investigating agencies failed to arrest them at the proper time.

The court made these observations while hearing an application filed by a PMLA case accused Vyomesh Shah of amending his bail conditions in a case probed by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED).

In an order dated May 29, Special PMLA judge MG Deshpande observed, “Ld. SPP Mr. Sunil Gonsalves vehemently argued that if such an application is allowed, it will give rise to situations like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Chokshi, etc. I thoughtfully examined this argument and felt it necessary to note that all these persons fled because of the failure of the Investigating Agencies concerned in not arresting them at the proper time.”

The Special PMLA court allowed Shah’s application, though ED opposed it, stating that the Court has been gracious enough to permit him to travel abroad from time to time on the terms and conditions.

Further, the ED contended to reject the application, saying that if the application is allowed, the applicant may flee away from the jurisdiction and further conceal himself without making him available during the trial. There is a possibility of tampering with evidence, the probe agency submitted to the court.

Following the arguments, the court observed that in many previous orders, this Court has boldly observed and taken note as to how ED has been trying to get their work done through the Court when they failed to do it, i.e. arrest of the accused under Section 19 PML Act and garb their failure in not doing the same at the appropriate time.

“It is simply because it is the ED who allows such a person to be scot-free without any apprehensions of his travelling abroad, tampering and hampering evidence, flight risk, apprehension of dealing with POC and assisting the said process, etc. but for the first time when such person appears before the Court all such contentions and objections astonishingly crop up before the Court. So, this Court has repeatedly taken a firm stand that, the Court cannot do what the ED basically failed to do,” the court observed while hearing Shah’s plea.

Mehul Choksi is a fugitive Indian businessman, currently residing in Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship. Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is wanted by Indian authorities in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, where it is alleged that the Choksi-Modi duo defrauded the bank of more than Rs 14,000 crore.

Reportedly, PNB unearthed the scam on January 25, 2018, and submitted a fraud report to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 29. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued against Choksi, who is wanted in India for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering.

Choksi fled the country in January 2018 to Antigua and Barbuda, a few days before the PNB scam was uncovered.

Fugitive Nirav Modi is currently in a UK jail, awaiting extradition. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had then suspended the passports of both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, another fugitive accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore, is in the UK.

 A Special PMLA court in Mumbai said that fugitive Indian businessmen Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, and Mehul Choksi fled the country because the investigating agencies failed to arrest them at the proper time.    

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