HC declines Choksi’s plea seeking pre-screening of documentary

‘Writ petition for enforcement of private right not maintainable’

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined a plea of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, an accused in the ₹13,500-crore Punjab National Bank scam, seeking to be given a pre-screening of Netflix documentary ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’.

The High Court said a writ petition for enforcement of a private right cannot be maintainable. It said Mr. Choksi’s remedy lies in a civil suit.

As per Netflix website, ‘Bad Boy Billionaires: India’ is an “investigative docu-series” that explores the “greed, fraud and corruption that built up — and ultimately brought down — India’s most infamous tycoons”.

The show’s poster carries the pictures of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy and Byrraju Ramalinga Raju. During the hearing, Netflix’s counsel opposed Mr. Choksi’s plea for the pre-screening. It also questioned the maintainability of the plea.

Mr. Choksi, an accused in the PNB scam, had left the country last year and was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. In his plea, he also sought for postponement of the release of the said documentary, slated to be released on September 2 on Netflix.

Mr. Choksi said he became aware of the documentary’s imminent release when he saw the trailer and started receiving phone calls from various persons across the world, including from Delhi, asking him if he was a part of it.

The plea stated that he discovered that one of the persons seen speaking in the trailer was Pavan C. Lall, who had written a book titled ‘Flawed: The Rise and Fall of India’s Diamond Mogul Nirav Modi’ where his name had been commingled with Nirav Modi’s, another fugitive Indian businessman.

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