The Delhi High Court has ordered fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, 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 Bad Boy Billionaires.
A division bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan, in its July 24 order, said, “This court considers it apposite to direct, before this proceedings are taken, the appellant (Choksi) to deposit a sum of ₹2,00,000/- within a period of one week from today with the registry of this Court to secure the costs of the present proceeding”. The matter is next listed on August 4.
The court noted that Choksi is neither a citizen of India nor a resident of India. It further stated that several other proceedings are pending against him, including for payment of dues, that have not been discharged. It further said that if Choksi fails in his appeal and any costs are imposed against him, there will not be a way to recover the amount.
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A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla on August 28, 2020, denied relief to Choksi, saying a writ petition for enforcement of a private right was not maintainable. The high court had said his remedy lay in a civil suit and granted him the liberty to raise the issue therein.
A division bench of the high court on September 7, 2020, sought responses from the Centre and Netflix on the appeal challenging the single-judge’s order. Previously, Choksi had argued before the division bench that his writ petition before the single judge was maintainable in the facts and circumstances of the case and sought an order of remand to the single judge for a decision on merits.
Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Bad Boy Billionaires, released in India on September 2, 2020, is described on Netflix as: “This investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons”.