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Court Restores Cheating Case Against Fugitive Businessman Mehul Choksi, His Wife

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

"We are of the opinion that the said examination and evaluation should not have been done by the high court," the bench said.

In a setback to fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi and his wife, the Supreme Court has reinstated a cheating case filed by the Gujarat Police. This decision overturns a 2017 state high court order that had dismissed the FIR against them. Mehul Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is also implicated in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, where they allegedly defrauded the bank of over ₹14,000 crore.

The case, originally filed in 2015 in Gujarat, accuses Mehul Choksi and his wife of forgery and cheating in a business transaction involving 24-karat gold bars worth ₹30 crore. The recent Supreme Court verdict, issued on November 29, sets aside the 2017 high court order and directs the police to proceed with the investigation. The court emphasizes that its observations should not be construed as comments on the case's merits, emphasizing that the investigation should continue without influence.

The court notes that the high court's detailed examination and evaluation of the case during the quashing of the FIR were unnecessary at that stage, given the ongoing investigation. Disputed factual questions, such as the validity of agreements and the binding nature of the company involved, should be addressed during the investigation rather than at this juncture. The court stresses that a civil wrong may also constitute a criminal offense, and the high court should not have examined and recorded conclusions on disputed facts to quash the FIR.

The Supreme Court highlights that the investigation has progressed following the FIR, with statements recorded by both police and magistrates. It dismisses general observations made by the high court about the involvement of spouses in criminal cases and emphasizes that specific roles will be ascertained through further investigation.

The case was initially filed by complainant Digvijaysinh Himmatsinh Jadeja, who accused Mehul Choksi's firm of failing to return gold bars and not fulfilling a minimum guarantee payment. The high court, while quashing the FIR, deemed it a civil dispute, leading to this recent challenge in the Supreme Court by Jadeja.

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