Mumbai: The CBI on Thursday requested a court here to declare Mehul Choksi, the prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, a proclaimed offender, saying he has failed to respond to a non-bailable warrant.
In an application before special judge for CBI cases V C Barde, the agency said Choksi left the country even before the first FIR was filed in the case to "conceal himself".
"Choksi has already taken citizenship of Antigua, one of the Caribbean Islands, in order to avoid execution of warrant issued by the court," it said.
The CBI also opposed Choksi's plea for cancelation of the NBW issued against him.
"The accused is absconding... It's our right to interrogate him," CBI lawyer A Limosin said. The court adjourned the hearing to October 17 for further arguments.
The CBI requested the court to declare Choksi a proclaimed offender and attach his properties under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under section 82 of CrPC, a court can publish a proclamation requiring the accused to appear if the warrant issued against him cannot be executed.
According to section 83 of CrPC, after issuing such a proclamation, the court may also order attachment of the proclaimed offender's properties. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, owners of high-profile jewellery brands, are accused of cheating PNB of over Rs 13,000 crore by obtaining Letters of Undertaking (guarantee to overseas banks for credit facility) fraudulently.