Preeti Kothari, wife of fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi, moved a special court here on Tuesday seeking cancellation of the bailable warrant issued against her in connection with the over Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case.
The probe agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED), had named Kothari as an accused in the supplementary charge sheet filed last June.
She has been charged with helping her husband, the prime accused in the case, “in layering of the proceeds of crime”.
In the application, filed through advocates Vijay Agarwal and Rahul Agarwal, Kothari said the court issued bailable warrants against her on August 9 on the ground that she didn’t appear in person despite the issuance of summons.
Kothari claimed she was “unaware about the existence of the present legal proceedings on account of the fact that she has been a resident of Antigua and Barbuda” since she shifted there in 2018, much prior to the registration of the money laundering case.
It is further stated that the factum of foreign citizenship of the present applicant (Kothari), and place of residence being outside India was well known to Indian authorities, the application stated.
The court has directed the ED to file its say and adjourned the matter for hearing to August 25.
Apart from Choksi and Kothari couple, the ED in its charge sheet also named Choksi’s three companies — Gitanjali Gems Ltd, Gili India Ltd and Nakshatra Brand Ltd — and retired Punjab National Bank deputy manager (Brady House branch, Mumbai) Gokulnath Shetty.
It was the third charge sheet against Choksi after the first two were filed in 2018 and 2020 by the ED.
Choksi, his diamantaire nephew Nirav Modi, and their family members and employees, bank officials and others were booked by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2018 for perpetrating the alleged fraud in the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai.
It is alleged that Choksi, his firm Gitanjali Gems and others “committed the offence of cheating against Punjab National Bank in connivance with certain bank officials by fraudulently getting the LOUs (letters of undertaking) issued and got the FLCs (foreign letter of credit) enhanced without following