The absconding diamond merchant Mehul Choksi’s name was removed on Monday from Interpol’s red notice database. The Interpol removed his name on the basis of a plea given to the Lyon-headquartered agency. The decision of Interpol to remove his name from the “red list came as a huge setback.
On Monday, Interpol withdrew the name of the diamond merchant that it had issued in December 2018. As of my last check on Tuesday, the total number of Red Notices issued by Interpol was 7023, but they didn’t have Mehul’s name.
Red notice, in brief
According to Interpol, a red notice or red corner notice is a request to different agencies worldwide to arrest any person who has absconded to another country and has yet to surrender or for any other legal action. The red notice is not the same as an arrest warrant; the member countries have to apply their own laws and decide whether to arrest or not. The red notice list gets updated regularly.
Charges against Mehul Choksi
Mehul Choksi is the prime accused in a multi-crore scam with the Punjab National Bank. He allegedly conspired with the bank officials to get fake letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit issued for the companies he owned.
The PNB didn’t keep any security for the issuance of the LOU. When a person fails to repay, then the guarantor bank will be liable. Mehul’s nephew, Nirav Modi, is one of the accused in the case. Investigation revealed that this transaction had been carried since 2011 but had not been recorded by the banks. The scam first came to light on January 25, 2018, when the bank submitted a fraud report to the RBI.
On January 31, the first FIR was filed by the CBI. Initially, the fraudulent amount was Rs 280 crore, but the amount increased at the time of investigation. He left the country before the scam came to light. Multiple cases have been filed against him, which include loan fraud, cheating, and financial misappropriation. As per the ministry of finance, Choksi is on the top of the list of willful offenders in India with a loan amount of Rs 7,848 crore.
Reason to issue a red corner notice
At the request of the CBI, Mehul Choksi’s name was added to Interpol’s red list in December 2018. It was presumed that he had set up a base in Antigua and Barbuda. He later applied for citizenship in the Caribbean nation on May 17, 2017. Mehul challenged the red corner notice on the basis of a violation of human rights, which was then contested by the CBI.
Reasons for revocation and its effect
Interpol has yet to give any confirmation about the reason for withdrawing Mehul’s name from the list. However, different news platforms claimed that his allegation that an attempt to kidnap him had been made from Antigua on May 20, 2021, may have gone against CBI.
Mehul Choksi, after his name was removed from the red list, can now travel to any country in the world, apart from those that have charges against him.
This incident is definitely an embarrassment for India’s elite investigation agency, the CBI. The CBI however said that they are trying to revise to revoke the decision of withdrawing the red notice against Mehul Choksi. CBI also clarified that RED NOTICE is necessary for the extradition of the absconding diamond merchant.
Congress tweeted questions to the PM and BJP about when Mehul is arrested and brought back to India for criminal trials.