NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has directed Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam accused Mehul Choksi to first deposit Rs 2 lakh before it hears further his plea against a docuseries streaming on Netflix. Choksi has appealed against a single-judge order dismissing his plea against β€˜Bad Boy Billionaires’.

The bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan noted that Choksi is neither an Indian citizen nor a resident of India, and there are several proceedings pending against him in the country. It said if he does not succeed in his appeal, and any costs are imposed against him, there will not be a way to recover the amount.
β€œIt is pointed out that the appellant is neither a citizen of India nor a resident of India. In addition, it is also submitted that there are several other proceedings pending against the appellant, including for payment of dues, which have not been discharged,” the bench said.

Choksi, who was represented by advocate Vijay Aggarwal, said in the appeal that he is only seeking the matter be remanded to the single judge who had dismissed his plea.
The single judge had on August 28, 2020 denied relief to Choksi, saying a writ petition for enforcement of a private right was not maintainable. The judge said his remedy lay in a civil suit and granted him the liberty to raise the issue therein.
Choksi earlier contended that there was a two-minute footage about him in the series, which allegedly showed him in a bad light and, therefore, could affect the various proceedings against him in India. Netflix opposed the plea, saying it was not maintainable as the high court has in the past held that over the top (OTT) cannot be regulated, and the only option was to file a civil suit.
Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500-crore PNB fraud case. He left the country in 2019 and obtained citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda. The documentary was released in October 2020.


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