• Monday, June 17, 2024

Business

India’s CBI asks Interpol to restore Red Notice against Mehul Choksi

By: Pramod Thomas

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has asked Interpol to restore the Red Notice against fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, saying its decision to drop his name from the list was based on mere “imaginary conjunctures and unproven surmises” and had serious shortcomings, overreach of mandate and mistakes.

Red Notice is the highest level of alert by the 195-member strong Interpol to locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

In a statement on Tuesday (21), the CBI said the Commission for Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) removed Choksi’s name from the Red Notice list in November 2022.

The removal of the notice means Choksi can freely travel out of Antigua and Barbuda where he is holed up after fleeing from India in 2018.

The statement was issued by the CBI a day after media reported the CCF decision that came as a setback to Indian investigating agencies and triggered a huge political uproar.

Based on repeated appeals from Choksi, who is wanted in the $1.7 billion bank fraud in Punjab National Bank, the CCF removed his name from the Red Notice list in November 2022, it said.

The statement said the CBI has taken up with CCF the serious shortcomings, procedural violations, overreach of mandate and mistakes committed by CCF in the manner of reaching this unfounded and perfunctory decision.

Based on new information and serious errors in the decision, the CBI is taking steps for the decision of CCF to be revised, the agency said.

“The CBI continues to exercise available remedial and appellate options within Interpol for rectification of this faulty decision and for restoration of Red Notice.”

The CCF has subsequently clarified to the CBI that its decision “in no manner has any determination on any guilt or innocence of Choksi” for crimes he remains charged in India, the agency added.

Opposition Congress hit out at the Union government over the CCF decision, saying while the Opposition was being targeted by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) and the CBI, its “friend” was being let off.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Raghav Chadha claimed that Choksi’s name was removed from the Interpol’s Red Notices as Indian probe agencies failed to provide “concrete evidence” of the charges slapped on him.

(PTI)

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