PM Gaston Browne feels House heat

New Delhi

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne faced a barrage of questions in Parliament on Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, local media reported.

According to a clip of Parliamentary proceedings on Tuesday shared by Antigua News Room, a news outlet in the Caribbean nation, Browne said, "Mr Speaker, I am not aware of evidence but this information is in the public domain that Mehul Choksi was abducted. And, I am aware that law enforcement here would have done some research and perhaps may have some individuals of interest but as far as evidence is concerned, I am not aware that there is any such conclusive evidence."

Browne also replied in the negative when asked if the Scotland Yard or any other agency has contacted his government about the alleged abduction of Choksi. Browne was asked question by the opposition leader Jamal Pringle.

The Antiguan Prime Minister was reportedly asked if the Scotland Yard or any other investigative body found any evidence that Mehul Choksi was taken to Dominica by "involuntary means".

Choksi had gone missing on May 23 sparking a massive manhunt. He was captured in Dominica where he is facing charges of "illegal entry". A Dominican court has ordered Choksi to be remanded at the Dominica State Prison despite a decline in his health on June 18.

The Magistrate remanded Choksi until June 24, when he will appear before the court to be further remanded whilst his trial for illegal entry is expected to commence on June 25.

BJP a travel agency for wilful defaulters: Congress

After the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has handed over assets worth Rs9,371 crore belonging to fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi to state-run banks, the Congress questioned the BJP for aiding the fugitives and accused it of being a 'travel agency for wilful defaulters'.

Jaiveer Shergill, Congress spokesperson said, "Instead of celebrating, the BJP should be explaining to the Nation as to why bank frauds have increased by 57 per cent in the past 7 years; Why instead of building a 5 trillion dollar economy the BJP government has dug a hole of 5 trillion dollar bad bank loans? And, with whose help in BJP Mallya escaped?"

He said, "The truth is that under the BJP only the ease of looting India has flourished and not the ease of doing business. BJP is a travel agency for wilful defaulters and fraudsters who scoot from India with ease after looting the public money."

ED attached more assets than money due to banks: lawyer

New Delhi: After the Enforcement Directorate transferred a portion of attached assets in cases of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi to Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and the Central Government, the lawyer of Mehul Choksi has issued a statement on Wednesday and claimed that the ED has indeed attached assets much more than the money due to the banks." Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, in the Mehul Choksi case, said, "ED has indeed attached assets much more than the money due to the banks. Further, if one looks at the principal amount and the kind of haircut banks are taking in NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) or otherwise in OTS, in this case, banks will recover more than a hundred per cent of the principal as well as interest."

"However, for the people, who have been declared fugitive, I have my doubts as to how will banks get the money as in the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. There is no provision to give the money to the victims and the money is confiscated by the central government. However in the prevention of money laundering act, there is an amendment in 2019 in the prevention of money laundering restoration of property rules 2016, now bank as a victim can approach the special Judge PMLA and seek the property seized to satisfy their dues," he added.

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