The Bombay High Court on Monday asked diamond merchant Mehul Choksi to submit his medical reports to a hospital in Mumbai for cross-examination to determine if he is in a position to travel, PTI reported. Choksi has cited poor health as a reason for not coming to India from Antigua.
The bench directed Choksi’s advocate to submit all of his client’s latest medical reports to the team of doctors at the JJ Hospital’s cardiology department in Mumbai. On July 9, the hospital will submit the sealed report to the court with its opinion on whether the fugitive diamantaire is fit to travel or not, the bench said. The court said it will hear the matter on July 10.
This comes two days after the Enforcement Directorate rejected Choksi’s offer to join the inquiry into the alleged Punjab National Bank scam. The agency had said it was willing to provide an air ambulance with medical experts to bring Choksi from Antigua and provide him all necessary treatment in India.
The agency in a counter affidavit had said, that the affidavit filed by Choksi in which he claimed that he is unable to return to India because of health problems appeared to be “facades being erected merely to mislead the court in an obvious attempt to delay the lawful proceedings”.
Choksi is accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,000 crore along with his nephew Nirav Modi. In January, he surrendered his Indian citizenship and passport to authorities in Antigua and Barbuda. This came five months after he claimed to have “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda to expand his business interests in the Caribbean.
Last Monday, Choksi had told the Bombay High Court that he left India for a medical check-up and not because of the alleged scam.
The agency asked the court to direct Choksi to file an affidavit on his intentions to return to India at the earliest, preferably within a month from the date of the order. The agency said Choksi should mention the date of his intended return.
Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate told the court that the diamond merchant was a “fugitive and absconder” and his Antiguan citizenship showed he had no intention to return to India for the inquiry against him.
The agency said Choksi siphoned off and laundered around Rs 6,097 crore in the alleged scam at Punjab National Bank that was unearthed in February 2018.