The Supreme Court of India has delivered a significant legal blow to fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi and his wife, reinstating a case previously dismissed by the Gujarat High Court in 2017. The case alleges that the couple was involved in serious financial crimes, including forgery and cheating, related to a business deal involving 24 karat pure gold bars valued at Rs 30 crore.
A Fresh Turn in the Legal Battle
The original First Information Report (FIR) filed by complainant Digvijaysinh Himmatsinh Jadeja in 2015 in Gujarat, accused Choksi and his wife of these grave offenses. The Gujarat High Court had, however, quashed the FIR, bringing a halt to the legal proceedings against the couple. The Supreme Court's decision marks a significant turnaround in Choksi's legal situation, breathing new life into the case for prosecution and further investigation into the alleged offenses.
Supreme Court's Decisive Verdict
The bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti overturned the 2017 judgment of the Gujarat High Court, instructing the police to proceed with the investigation uninfluenced by previous findings or observations made in the impugned judgment or the present order. The apex court emphasized that the High Court had overstepped its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by delving into factual controversies and recording conclusions on disputed facts to quash the FIR.
Implications of the Reinstatement
The reinstatement of the case highlights the disputed facts and underscores the need for a thorough investigation to ascertain the validity and binding nature of the agreements, as well as the alleged misappropriation of the gold bars. The court refrained from making detailed observations on the merits of the case, emphasizing that the investigation should continue without being influenced by previous findings or observations. Mehul Choksi, in conjunction with his nephew Nirav Modi, is also wanted in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, where they are alleged to have defrauded the bank of more than Rs 14,000 crore. This case adds to Choksi's legal woes, illuminating the tangled web of allegations and legal proceedings surrounding his business and financial conduct.