Mehul Choksi got passport without police verification, probe ordered

Source: PTI | Published on 5th August 2018, 11:57 PM | National News | Don't Miss |

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police on Saturday said that they gave a "clear report" to jeweller Mehul Choksi last year as no criminal antecedents were found against him.

Police also said they have ordered an inquiry "into the matter of issuance of police verification report (PVR)" to Choksi when he obtained the passport in Mumbai in 2015.

Choksi, now a prime accused in the alleged Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, obtained passport under the 'Tatkal' category after the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here granted him "No Police Verification Required" status in 2015, a Mumbai Police release said. Because of this status, no PVR was generated from the Mumbai Police, it said, adding that an inquiry into the matter has now been ordered.

Choksi is one of the alleged masterminds of the USD 2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and is the uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi.

Clarifying about the issuance of police clearance last year, the release said Choksi had applied for a police clearance certificate (PCC) to RPO, Mumbai, on February 23, 2017. Officials at the Malabar Hill Police Station, under whose limits he lived, submitted "a clear report" on March 10, 2017, stating that no criminal antecedents were found.

It was forwarded to RPO, Mumbai, according to the release.

The 'Clear Report' was given after checking the online Criminal Antecedents and Information System (CAIS), it said. If a person has been arrested in the past, it is reflected in the CAIS, the release said.

Choksi left the country on January 1 this year, and an offence was registered against him by the CBI on January 31 (in the PNB scam), it noted. Now, the city police are also examining their "internal processes involved in the criminal antecedents verification process to improve the existing system", the release added.

A newspaper report from Antigua has said that Indian authorities did not give any adverse report to stall Choksi's citizenship application in that country last year. Choksi's application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local police as required by norms, Antiguan newspaper the Daily Observer reported.

As the news report created a furore, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs had said on Saturday that PCC was issued by the passport office of Mumbai for Antigua and Barbuda on the basis of a clear PVR available on his passport.

"As the PVR of Mehul Choksi was clear in the system at the time of issuance of PCC, the process followed by Passport Office, Mumbai, was as per extant instructions," he had said.

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