He alleged that ED has intentionally concealed from the court replies sent by him to the ED as well as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Mumbai: Fugitive diamond trader and Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud accused Mehul Choksi on Monday filed a reply to the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) application seeking to declare him fugitive economic offender, before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court saying it is not that he ever refused to join the investigation but he cannot travel because of his medical condition. He also claimed that the ED's allegation that he left the country in suspicious circumstances is false because he left the country prior to registration of a first information report and the ED is trying to falsely implicate him.
The reply filed by Choksi has claimed that the ED has suppressed from the court his correspondences exchanged with the PNB wherein he has proposed to settle the amounts due. He alleged that ED has intentionally concealed from the court replies sent by him to the ED as well as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
According to the reply filed by Choksi's lawyer, the definition of economic offender defined under the Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is a person who left India to avoid criminal prosecution or, being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. However, according to Choksi, he neither left the country post registration of the complaint nor he has refused to return, as alleged by the probe agency. According to him, he has not been able to return due to his medical condition. It is claimed that he is suffering from the condition since 2012.
According to the reply, Choksi had a CT scan and an angiogram, which showed several blocked arteries. “After getting diagnosed in India, the accused had to travel abroad and after travelling abroad the accused began to feel breathlessness and he soon became ill,” read the reply. It is further claimed that he has had a clot in his brain since 2012 and he has also been a diabetic patient for the last 20 years. "Coupled with the heart problem, it has resulted in multiple medical complications, making it extremely impossible for him to travel on a long flight of 41 hours,” read the reply adding that doctors have cautioned against such travel, which “makes it clear that he never refused to return”.
Choksi had shown his willingness to join the investigation through vid-eo conferencing, the reply said. According to him, after coming into force the Fugitive Economic Offen-ders Act 2018, the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018 had been repealed and hence the ED’s application should be dismissed, which has been made under an ordinance.