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PMO facilitated Choksi's escape, alleges Congress


IANS New Delhi
Calling it the biggest cover-up by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Congress on Tuesday alleged that despite the PMO being aware of the financial irregularities and pending complaints against PNB scam-accused Mehul Choksi, it "facilitated" his escape.
"Connivance of the PMO led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the escape of Rs 23,484-crore PNB scam accused-Mehul Choksi is now out in the open," said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in a statement.
"Ten months before he fled India, Mehul Choksi visited the Mumbai passport office in early 2017, to obtain a clearance, which certified there was no adverse information against him," he added.
Khera said: "Serious proofs have come to light to show that 'every concerned agency was aware about the serious complaints pending against the runaway diamond trader'.
"This has been conceded by none other than Prime Minister's Office on August 3 2017," he added.
Khera also said: "Antigua and Barbabos Prime Minister Gaston Browne, in an interview to a major television channel on July 27 had said that the Indian government has not approached them on fugitive diamond jeweller Choksi, who has secured citizenship of the Caribbean country."
"It is important to note that Modi had met Gaston Browne in April 2018, but did not raise the issue of Mehul Choksi's citizenship," he added.
The party said that it has been a matter of record that the Ministry of External Affairs wrote to the PMO seeking information on Mehul Choksi.
"The letter seeks to know if charges were pending against fraudster Mehul Choksi during approval of citizenship request for which the latter applied in early 2017 in Mumbai," said Khera.
Khera also said: "PMO's reply to MEA's letter is now in public domain. The letter August 3, 2017, was addressed to the Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
"Not surprisingly, the biggest cover-up ever, the PMO admits that complaints were received by it from public domain regarding huge financial irregularities tantamount to crime.
"Even the PMO on record had admitted that Finance Ministry, Home Ministry, CBI Director, ED, SFIO had forwarded the complaints on Choksi's frauds. This also shows that PMO was aware about Mehul Choksi's financial wrongdoings and maintained a suspicious silence," he added.

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First Published: Aug 28 2018 | 11:04 PM IST

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