Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has issued a news briefing on Republic TV's sensational game-changing reveal where absconding fraud-accused Mehul Choksi's lawyer stated on record that his client had a "loose alliance" with the Congress party.
"Choksi's lawyer, who is a foreigner, has made a statement via which Congress' links with Mehul Choksi has come forward."
He then read out the statement by David Dorsette, Choksi's attorney, that Republic TV aired: "He was a businessman. An ordinary businessman. And he did have a loose alliance with what is now the opposition party in India, the Congress party."
"So Mehul Choksi's foreign lawyer has confirmed to a TV channel that he had a loose alliance with the Congress. I had done a news briefing where I had talked about how a day before the 2014 election results, the then Finance Minister, had allowed Gitanjali exports into an amendment that gave unfettered right to import diamonds. Two days later, the RBI approved it and the then RBI Governor said we've asked the government, but there's no word on which government", Ravi Shankar Prasad added.
He concluded: "It has come to light and had also been known before that some Congress politicians had inaugurated some of their showrooms and that during 2011-13, Choksi's income increased manifold. We know who was in power then. The hope is that the Congress answers truthfully. Our government is investigating and will continue to do so and proceedings are underway against these absconders in India and abroad."
Earlier on Thursday, Republic TV had aired a statement of David Dorsett, the lawyer of Mehul Choksi in Antigua, who admitted that 'there are serious political elements involved' in the case.
"Well, he has a nephew who also appears to be a person, a scapegoat. The authorities are trying to pin this matter for him. There is a very serious political element that is involved in this whole matter and it is not just a bank that has collapsed. In India, the political climate is heated up in a very serious way. I mean to understand the elections particularly at a national level that are going to be held in early part of next year. Basically, the politicians are in splints right now. They are trying to carry as much popular support as they can and the situation with MR. Choksi has to be seen in that context", David Dorsette told Republic TV.
"He was a businessman. He was an ordinary businessman and he had some loose alliance with what is now known as the opposition party in India, the Congress Party, which is the party that is different from the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I believe that his name. So, there is a difference. I also know that he was a regional, a political activist but there was somewhat of a loose alliance that has kind of inflamed the situation", he added
Minutes after Republic TV's news break, the BJP mounted a scathing attack on the Congress. The news break of the biggest diplomatic scoop has changed the air within the political circle, with BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy also alleging that the disclosures by Choksi's lawyer of a Congress connection could also lead to links with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the 80:20 gold scheme (to which Ravi Shankar Prasad also referred.)
Impact 1: Government to examine Choksi-Cong link
Impact 2: The Bhartiya Janata Party MPs will raise the issue in Parliament
Impact 3: Dr. Subramanian Swamy linked Rahul Gandhi to 80:20 gold scheme
Impact 4: Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) has sought explanation from Congress
Impact 5: Bharatiya Janata Party will hold an emergency meeting to discuss Choksi-Cong link
Earlier, a day after the Antiguan foreign minister confirmed that the Antiguan government was ready to work with India for the extradition of Mehul Choksi who has become a citizen of the country, after an extradition treaty with India was 'discovered', sources in the government of India told Republic TV that India is likely to send documentary evidence in next few days. The sources also revealed that the government is going to seek revocation of Choksi's citizenship and could send across the documents as early as next week.
"If India can prove that at the point of answering questions in the application he knew and withheld deliberate information, then that is grounds for revocation. The law is very clear: If the applicant fails to provide material information at the point of application and this is covered somewhere in the future, that is basis of laws enough to do a verification," the Antiguan Foreign Minister, Paul Chet Green, said exclusively to Republic TV and Antiguan state broadcaster ABS.
On July 31, days after no less than the Prime Minister of Antigua confirmed to Republic TV that Choksi had become an Antiguan citizen and expounded on the circumstances of Choksi getting Antiguan citizenship, reports surfaced that Mehul Choksi approached the Antigua High court in an attempt to block extradition to India. David Dorsette filed a case in the High Court of Antigua on Monday seeking to block the extradition of his client.
Speaking to Republic TV moments after the newsbreak, Senior BJP Leader and Member of Parliament Dr. Subramanian Swamy alleged that the disclosures by Choksi's lawyer of a Congress connection could also lead to links with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the 80:20 gold scheme.