Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: In a major setback for beleaguered diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the proceedings before a special court, to declare him a "fugitive" under the newly introduced Fugitive Offenders Act (FEO) law. He is the prime accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

The special court is likely to pronounce its verdict on whether Choksi could be declared a fugitive under the new law. If declared, it would add to the woes of Choksi, who left India, soon after the scam.

A bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Sadhana Jadhav refused to grant any relief to Choksi.

The bench was dealing with a plea filed by Choksi seeking a stay on the proceedings that are going on in a special court. He urged the bench that the court should stay the proceedings there and first decide his another petition, wherein he has challenged the provisions of the FEO claiming the law to be "draconian and unconstitutional."

The special court is presently seized with an application moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) through special counsellor Hiten Venegaonkar.

According to the ED, Nirav Modi, who is one of the prime accused in the case, along with Choksi, in connivance with certain bank officials and allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore through issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), which were allegedly issued in a fraudulent manner by a Mumbai branch of the PNB to a group of companies belonging to Modi from March 2011, till the case came to light.

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