Netflix docuseries: Delhi HC seeks Mehul Choksi’s physical appearance on appeal against single-judge order

Mehul Choksi. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked businessman Mehul Choksi, the accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, to physically appear before it for hearing his appeal challenging a single-judge order dismissing his plea to pre-screen ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’, a docuseries of Netflix.

Choksi has contended that the documentary series, which was released in October 2020, included a two-minute footage portraying him in a negative light. He has expressed concern that it could affect the ongoing proceedings against him in India.

Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is accused in over Rs 10,000 crore PNB fraud case. He left India in 2019 and was granted citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.

Earlier, the bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan had directed Choksi to deposit Rs 2 lakh with the court before proceeding with his appeal.

The court had noted that Choksi is neither an Indian citizen nor a resident of India, and there are several pending proceedings against him in the country.

The bench had directed Choksi to deposit the said amount to secure the costs of the proceedings.

The court had said that if the fugitive does not succeed in his appeal, and costs are imposed against him, there might be no way to recover the amount.

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 court had said that his remedy lay in a civil suit and granted him the liberty to raise the issue therein.

The division bench had on September 7, 2020, sought responses of the Centre and Netflix on the appeal challenging the single judge’s order.

Netflix had opposed the plea stating that internet video streaming platforms cannot be regulated, and the appropriate remedy for Choksi is to file a civil suit.

Choksi’s petition before the single judge claimed that he has been falsely accused of various crimes in India and has the right to a presumption of innocence and a fair trial, as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, along with the right to reputation.

However, the single judge had denied relief, stating that the remedy lay in a civil suit.

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