Calling himself a "victim of political persecution" as India gears up for elections, fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi has said that his "life would be in danger" if he returns to India.
In a recent interview with the Hindustan Times, the accused in the high-profile Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case said:
"“Ever since I have arrived in Antigua about two months back, pressure is being mounted upon me and I am being considered as a soft or easy target because the Indian government is finding it difficult it impossible to extradite other wanted persons from other countries such as the UK [sic].”" - Mehul Choksi to Hindustan Times
Choksi also told the daily that he "is in no position to return any money" to PNB, as his "brand value has come to zero", with all his assets being seized by the investigative agencies.
Dismissing accusations of "running away" from the country, Choksi reportedly said he was hospitalised at the time the PNB scam came out on the media and the FIR was filed.
"“I had created [a] number of brands, invested [a] huge amount of money in India and created thousands of jobs. I have huge immovable properties in India, so why would a person invest so much if he intends to run away.”" - Mehul Choksi to Hindustan Times‘My Case Has Become a Media Trial’
Pointing out that his health condition continues to be such that he needs continuous medical supervision and is advised not to travel, Choksi was further quoted by HT as saying:
"“I have an apprehension that I may be denied proper and necessary medical treatment once I am arrested on my return to India. Also, the manner in which the events unfolded in the last six months makes it clear that my life would be in danger in India. There have been various reported cases of mob lynching, and in one of the cases an accused was lynched while being inside a jail.”" - Mehul Choksi to Hindustan Times
Regarding his life in Antigua, Choksi clarified to the daily that he is "not living a luxury life [sic]" and is being hounded by the media.
"My case has become a media trial and everything is being looked into with extreme prejudice," he said, adding that there is a great danger of him being persecuted.
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