The Supreme Court has set aside a Gujarat High Court judgement from 2017 and restored a case of alleged cheating against fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi.
Choksi and his wife Priti have been accused of forgery and cheating in connection with a business transaction that pertained to 24 karat pure gold bars worth Rs 30 crore, PTI reported. The first information report was filed in 2015 based on a complaint by an individual named Digvijaysinh Himmatsinh Jadeja.
On May 5, 2017, the Gujarat High Court had quashed the case, saying that the allegations pertained to a civil breach of contract and no criminal offence was made out. The Supreme Court, however, set aside the judgement on November 29.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti observed that the High Court had carried out a detailed factual examination of the case, which was not necessary at a stage where investigations were still on.
“We are of the opinion that the said examination and evaluation should not have been done by the High Court,” the bench said.
Mehul Choksi and his wife had argued that two agreements signed on July 25, 2013 and August 13, 2013 were not binding on their company, Geetanjali Jewellery Retail Limited. The complainant, however, contended that the agreements were valid and binding.
The Supreme Court said that these were disputed questions of fact and the High Court should not have recorded conclusions about them.
The bench directed the Gujarat Police to continue its investigation without being influenced by findings or observations made either by the High Court or the Supreme Court.
Choksi is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in India in connection with the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Another accused person in the case, Nirav Modi, is currently in jail in the United Kingdom.
Choksi had fled India for Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018, a few weeks before the PNB fraud came to light. He has secured the citizenship of the Caribbean country.
The Indian government has demanded that Choksi be extradited.