The special PMLA court on Wednesday rejected the plea of businessman Mehul Choksi – a fugitive in the Punjab National Bank fraud case – who sought to intervene in the legal proceedings initiated by the ICICI Bank, seeking release of properties valued at Rs636 crore.
He pleaded that he should be heard before passing any order on the properties owned by him. Choksi objected to the release of his residential properties at Gokul building in Walkeshwar and a bungalow in Alibaug. Choksi said that these properties are not mortgaged with the ICICI Bank and he should be heard before the release of these properties. In its order, the court stated that the properties sought by the bank are different and that they don't belong to the businessman. Hence, there is no need to hear him, it added.
In November 2022, the ICICI Bank had approached the special PMLA court, seeking release of the properties attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which is investigating the money laundering angle against Choksi. The properties, listed by the bank, are owned by N & J Finstock Pvt Ltd, Rohan Mercantile Pvt Ltd, Gitanjali Infratech and Hyderabad Gems SEZ Ltd. All of them were mortgaged to obtain credit facilities.
Meanwhile, Choksi's wife Preeti on Wednesday filed a rejoinder to her plea for cancellation of the warrant issued by the court for skipping the ED summons. She averred that the central agency was aware that she has long back shifted to Antigua with her husband, but still it chose to serve summons at their Mumbai residence. Hence, she cannot be said to have willfully refrained from appearing before the court, Preeti underlined. The court will hear the plea by next month.