An Interpol red corner notice has been issued against fugitive diamond king Mehul Choksi, a key accused in bank fraud cases at Punjab National Bank. The red notice has been issued on a condition that it won’t made public and only NCBs (National Central Bureaus) can access it. In India, Interpol’s NCB is handled by CBI.
Sources say Interpol issued a red notice against Mehul Choksi about a fortnight back after a decision was taken by The Commission for the Control of Interpol Files (CCF) in a meeting in October.
The red corner notice, which asks countries to help arrest a wanted person, is seen as a huge setback for Mehul Choksi who became a citizen of the Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda before the multi-crore fraud came to light.
The issuance of red notice against Choksi finally makes him a “fugitive” in 192 countries, which means his visa-free travel to 32 countries on Antiguan passport could be restricted and he stands the chance of being detained.
The Interpol had earlier issued Red Corner Notices against designer jeweller Nirav Modi, brother Neeshal and close aide Mihir Bhansali in this case. But the Interpol hadn’t issued one against Choksi because it needed some clarifications.
Interpol initially hesitated in issuing red notice against Choksi after latter wrote to Interpol that he was being targeted for political reasons but India pushed its case saying the global notice has been issued against his nephew Nirav Modi on the similar charges.
Choksi had nevertheless used the absence of an Interpol notice to suggest that the charges against him were not credible enough. Antiguan authorities had also told New Delhi that the only way it could restrict Choksi’s movement was the CBI could get a Red Corner Notice issued against him.
A CBI official said the international warrant would also help the Antigua and Barbuda government to take a call on Mehul Choksi’s citizenship.