An Indian supporters of the Congress Party keeps his hand on the face of a cut out of billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi during a protest in New Delhi on February 16, 2018. Indian investigators on February 15 raided the premises of a billionaire jeweller accused of defrauding one of the country's biggest banks. Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers searched the Mumbai offices of Nirav Modi after he was accused of cheating state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of 2.8 billion rupees ($43.8 million). ( CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)


Billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, who is a key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has expressed his reluctance to return to India saying he’s scared of the current mob lynching trend in the country.

Choksi wrote to a special CBI court on Wednesday requesting the cancellation of a non-bailable warrant issued against him.

“It is most respectfully submitted that there have been various reported cases of mob lynching and one of the cases was in relation to an accused who was mob lynched while being inside a jail. This recent trend of mob lynching is growing and is attempting to giving justice on the road by the general public, and subsequently there is no prosecution because of non-identification of a particular individual is giving rise to the said tendency (sic),” his plea said.

Choksi said there were many threats to his life and hence his reluctance to reveal his current location. A number of people, including his previous employees, have grievances against him, said Choksi.

The salaries of Choksi’s existing employees have not been paid due to freezing of his accounts and they might have a reason to hurt him, believes Choksi. He also sees families of employees who have been arrested and customers whose jewellery has been taken away as threats to his life.

Modi and Choksi are among the main accused in the fraud case pegged at over Rs 13,400 crore. Nearly half-a-dozen cases related to the bank fraud have been registered against them, and the duo left the country even before cases were lodged against them in February.

Last week, India’s foreign ministry asked UK, France and Belgium to help track down fugitive jeweler Modi and to restrict his movements. According to some reports, Modi is currently in the UK and he is believed to have sought political asylum.