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State Bank of India moves to recover Rs 405 crore from fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi

Mehul Choksi's companies had pledged shares and mortgaged properties against their loans

India’s largest bank State Bank of India has moved to recover defaulted loan amount of Rs 405 crore on diamantaire and fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi. The move has come days after Mehul Choksi surrendered his Indian citizenship and handed over his Indian passport in Antigua.

According to an Economic Times report, SBI had extended working capital loan to Gitanjali Gems Ltd, Bandra Kurla Complex, Gemplus Division at Andheri East, premises in Bharat Diamond Bourse, a property in Santacruz and a plot in Maheshwaram Mandal in Rangareddy district of Telangana. Against this, the group had pledged shares and also mortgaged properties.

Choksi is a guarantor of 12-defaulting accounts of companies like Decent Securities and Finance Ltd, Decent Investment and Finance Ltd, and Nashik Multi Services Ltd, located in Bandra Kurla Complex, and the Hyderabad Gems SEZ Ltd at Telangana.

The properties against which the loan was sanctioned are situated at Cumballa Hill, Bandra Kurla Complex, Andheri areas of Mumbai, Panvel, Raigad, Nashik, Hyderabad and Telangana belonging to Choski and his group of companies. They include residential and commercial complexes with multi-parking facilities.

SBI, in December last year, had served notice at the last known address of the group of companies. The notice was sent in accordance with section 13(2) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets & Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. The provision enables the creditor to serve a deadline of sixty days to defaulter party and exercise rights to recover the defaulted amount.

Earlier this month, Enforcement Directorate had issued a provisional order to attach his Thailand factory, worth Rs 13 crore.

Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others are being probed under various criminal laws after the Indian financial sector was rocked by a startling revelation of fraud early last year following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Both Nirav Modi and Choksi are currently absconding. Mehul Choksi is reported to be residing in the Carribean country of Antigua, and taken citizenship of the country, with which India doesn’t have an extradition treaty.

In December last year, his advocates had given an assurance to the court that their client is fully cooperating with banks to settle the case. They also said that Choksi cannot travel to India due to his bad health.

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