A woman walks past a Gitanjali Gems Ltd. Giantti store in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Mehul Choksi Says He’s A Poll-Bound Government’s “Soft Target In Political Controversy”

Absconding jeweller Mehul Choksi has claimed that the charges of money laundering and corruption against him are a “big political conspiracy” and there is “extraordinary pressure” on the ruling dispensation to bring back at least one bank defaulter as this has the potential for changing the results of forthcoming elections.

Calling himself a “soft target”, Choksi, an accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud case, said he has been made a sacrificial lamb for the “fault” of the state-owned bank where, he alleged, the problem was of a “mismatch” in the reporting mechanism to the Reserve Bank of India.

This is a big political conspiracy and it (the case) has now become political. I am a soft target. There is a lot of pressure on the government to bring back the bank defaulters and if even one person is not brought back then the results of elections can change. I have been made a scapegoat and if you see my companies were associated with the banks since 1995 and there has never been a problem.
Mehul Choksi to ABP News

He said that the Punjab National Bank was at “full fault” in this case, but considering it was a national entity, he was sacrificed. “So, whatever complacency was there, was in the reporting system of the bank to RBI. I have been attacked on the basis of this mismatch,”

Choksi is the maternal uncle of designer diamond jeweller and co-accused in the case Nirav Modi. He because a criminal action was launched by the government against Nirav Modi’s companies, his firms too were included. The businessman, against whom an Interpol notice sought by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is pending, added he had no business relations with Nirav Modi now.

Also read: Mehul Choksi’s Properties Are Money Laundering Assets: PMLA Authority

I was with Nirav Modi’s company between 1998-2000 and since then I have no business relations with him. My company is 50 years old and it has been given 150 government awards for social concerns over the years and there has been no government inquiry against them. But suddenly all agencies have come in the picture
Mehul Choksi to ABP News.

Over 6,000 people are employed his companies, directly or indirectly, Choksi said, and it has never happened in India that a firm has been shut down in a day without any investigation being conducted. “This happened because of extraordinary pressure on the government.”

The businessman, who has been charged with diverting and laundering over Rs 3,250 crore of funds, said he was “shocked” when he heard a criminal case was slapped against him in January.

Also read: SEBI To Consider Penal Action Against PNB, Gitanjali Gems

When asked on what he was doing in Antigua, Choksi said that he was undergoing “medical treatment” there. “I am also spending some time with my lawyers. It is a lovely country and I want to lead a life like a free bird.”

The owner of Gitanjali Group of Companies said he had “full faith in democracy” and he remains confident of getting justice.

Also read: Nirav Modi-Linked U.S. Firms Tied to India Fraud by Examiner