The affidavit says Choksi is a “most intelligent and powerful influential identity and has hired a whole legal team for the purpose of doing systematic fraud”.
New Delhi: A Bhavnagar-based jeweller had filed an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court in July 2016, in which he prophetically said diamond merchant Mehul Choksi could flee the country to allegedly evade his Rs 9,000-crore debt.
True to his words, Choksi — who now has citizenship of Antigua — managed to escape from India on 4 January.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is now in London, are both prime accused in the Rs 11,000-crore Punjab National Bank scam.
The opposition led by the Congress has been repeatedly alleging that Choksi’s escape was facilitated by government agencies. To help him, Congress has alleged, the investigating agencies also ignored tell-tale signs and warnings that he could flee to escape paying back his loans.
In a series of tweets Saturday, former union minister P. Chidambaram questioned law enforcement agencies, wondering how they could miss such a warning.
How did the central government and the Gujarat government allow Mehul Choksi to leave the country in 2018 when he was under police investigation since 2016?
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 4, 2018
“On July 20, 2016, an affidavit was filed before the Gujarat High Court alleging Mehul Choksi was in debt of Rs 9,872 crore and he may flee the country. How did the Gujarat government (BJP) allow him to leave the country in January 2018?” Chidambaram tweeted on 4 August.
ThePrint has seen the affidavit filed by jeweller Digvijaya Singh Jadeja.
What the affidavit said
“I would also like to draw kind attention of this Hon’ble Court to the fact that the petitioner has a huge debt of Rs 9,872 crore outstanding which is also specified in the website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs and there are full chances of the petitioner running away like Vijay Malia (Mallya), as his wife is having apartment at Burj Khalifa Dubai and as a result many litigations pending against him can get frustrated,” (sic) Jadeja said in the affidavit.
Jadeja had initially filed a criminal case against Choksi, who was then promoter and managing director of Gitanjali Gems.
Jadeja filed a complaint saying Choksi had defaulted payments to him to the tune of Rs 30 crore.
Choksi moved the Gujarat High Court seeking quashing of the criminal complaint. The court immediately granted an ex-parte stay (without hearing the other party) in favour of Choksi.
In response, Jadeja filed an affidavit before the court alleging that Choksi had suppressed material facts and that he could flee the country.
The affidavit also states that Choksi has committed “serious criminal offence by way of collecting monthly/yearly installments by its employees, from general public through floating various chit funds schemes”.
“The petitioner (Choksi) is a most intelligent and powerful influential identity and has hired a whole legal team for the purpose of doing systematic fraud, and has cheated various franchisees, shareholders and financial institutions,” (sic) the affidavit read.
In the same year, a Bengaluru-based businessman, S.V. Hariprasad, who was also duped by Choksi, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging that Choksi is likely to flee the country.
Hariprasad also highlighted Jadeja’s affidavit among other things but no action was initiated against Choksi.