PNB scam accused jeweller Mehul Choksi has moved the Bombay High Court to seek re-assessment and reinstatement of his assets which were confiscated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Choksi has claimed that the seized goods were "undervalued" by the enforcement agency and said that these may have been changed with other goods. "Otherwise there is no reason why two registered government valuers will give drastically different valuation of the same goods," his HC application states.
Choksi in the application has further claimed that the goods that were confiscated at his Hyderabad SEZ premises were pegged at around Rs 103.08 crore by the ED and were undervalued.
"It is submitted that previous valuation of Rs 3,840 crore was also made by a registered valuer and it is not possible that the previous valuer has made arbitrary valuation. Further, ED has not submitted any valuation report and has not given any reason why valuation was reduced," the application said.
Choksi has also contested the stocks confiscated by the ED in the application filed through counsel Vijay Aggarwal. It stated that the customs department which valued the goods never issued any notice saying that these were over-valued. The application added that the goods were also supposed to subject to special investigation by the government.
This comes days after the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne called him a "crook" and said that it's a matter of time before he would be extradited to India as he had exhausted all his legal options.
Browne said India failed to inform the Antigua and Barbuda authorities on time (about Choksi fleeing from India), but assured that he would be sent to India as soon as his legal options ended. "It's the Indian authorities who didn't inform us on time but we are clear that he will have to go back," Gaston Browne told India Today TV in an exclusive interview, without giving a specific timeline on Choksi's repatriation. He said the island nation was eying cooperation on city development, trade and investment deals with India. "That would be my focus in the Caricom-India meet," he added.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, are wanted by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly defrauding the PNB to the tune of Rs 13,700 crore.
The fugitive diamantaire had taken the citizenship of Antigua in November 2017 and the oath of allegiance on January 15 the next year (2018). Following the row on his citizenship, Choksi had said he had "lawfully applied" to be a citizen of the Caribbean country.
As per the country's rules, a passport holder of Antigua and Barbuda can enjoy visa-free travel to around 132 countries including the United Kingdom, Singapore and countries in the Schengen area that cover almost all of Europe.