India High Court directs Mehul Choksi to appear physically for ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’ case

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Source: Economic Times of India: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi should be physically present before it for hearing his case against the Netflix series Bad Boy Billionaires. Gitanjali Gems promoter Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Choksi left the country in 2019 and was granted the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda.

In 2020, Choksi moved the Delhi High Court against the documentary, which was scheduled to be aired on the OTT platform Netflix. The documentary, scheduled for release in India on September 2, 2020, was promoted by Netflix as: “This investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons”.

The poster released by Netflix shows Choksi’s nephew Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy (of the Sahara Group), now defunct Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya and Ramalinga Raju (former chairman and CEO of Satyam Computer Services).

In his petition, Choksi sought the postponement of the documentary, which is slated to be released on September 2, 2020. The petition filed by Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal stated that Choksi got to know of the documentary’s release just a week before it was going to be aired.

The petition said that Choksi had expressed his fear that his name may have been used in connection with Nirav Modi in the documentary even though his relation to the fugitive diamantaire is only that of an uncle and nephew.

Last year, the Delhi HC ordered Choksi to deposit Rs 2 lakh with the court before proceeding further with his appeal challenging the dismissal of his plea to pre-screen the Netflix docuseries.

The high court bench said 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.

The HC bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan directed Choksi to deposit Rs 2 lakh with the high court registry to secure the cost of the proceedings.

“This court is of the view that, in the event, the appellant (Choksi) does not prevail in the present appeal and costs are awarded to the respondent (Union of India and Netflix), there perhaps would be no method of recovering the same.

“This court considers it apposite to direct, before these proceedings are taken, the appellant to deposit a sum of Rs 2 lakh within a period of one week from today with the registry of this court to secure the costs of the present proceeding,” the bench said in its order passed on July 24.

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