Police in Antigua and Barbuda have commenced investigations into the possible abduction of Indian Fugitive Mehul Choksi.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne made that disclosure over the weekend, saying that Choksi’s lawyers had provided names of the people the businessman believes to be behind his abduction from Antigua on May 23 to the Antiguan Police Commissioner.
“I got a message saying Mehul Choksi has filed a complaint with the Antiguan and Barbuda Police to the extent that he was abducted. He made a formal claim in writing to his attorneys that he was abducted from Antigua and taken to Dominica. It is a report that the police have taken very seriously and they are currently investigating the abduction,” Browne said.
Browne said while the abduction seemed “unlikely”, his administration would be very “concerned” if such a thing turned out to be true. “It would mean that there was a greater need for inter-state border vigilance,” he said
Browne had said earlier, that it is unlikely that Choksi was abducted because Antigua and Barbuda does not have the culture of abduction.
“No ransom call was made at the time…He is now making a claim…An enquiry has begun into the conduct of the individuals he listed in their correspondence as possible abductees,” the prime minister stated.
In his complaint dated June 2, Mr. Choksi has named the woman he claims entrapped him as Barbara Jabarica, and “Indian men” that he claims beat him up, forcibly took him on a boat to Dominica and interrogated him as Narender Singh, Arminder Singh and Gurmit Singh.
Choksi said he attempted to get away but he was quickly overpowered, owing to being so heavily outnumbered and due to my poor state of health.
“My attackers continued to beat me mercilessly with bare hands and also utilized a taser on my face, hands and exposed skin, causing burns, bruises and immense pain. They further told me that if I continued to resist, they would file a complaint against me for “Obstruction of Justice”
He said due to their brutal beatings, he was unable to resist and was barely conscious.
“They then took my cell phone, Rolex watch and wallet. They stated that they did not want to rob me and returned the money to me at that point of time which was around 1500 dollars. They placed me on a wheel-chair and I was in an almost comatose state. I was unable to resist when they tied my hands, legs and body to the wheelchair. A gag was placed in my mouth, obstructing my airways, causing me to gasp for air. They continued their onslaught and placed a mask on my head so my vision was also obscured,” Choksi added.
He said in the very detailed report that about 15-17 hours after his ordeal began, the boat stopped moving and he was informed that “we had arrived’, which would have been roughly 9:30-1 0:00 AM Antigua time. Upon enquiring further, I was given evasive answers again, but I was told that I had been brought to this special location to give an interview to a high-ranking Indian Politician. He also told me that my citizenship would be fixed in Dominica and that I would soon be repatriated to India”.
However, he said he was soon informed that since Dominica was closed, they would have “to stay here all day.”
“This caused much dismay amongst the crew members as they were constantly getting radio calls enquiring as to why my operation had not yet been completed. They were getting harried as they were supposed to have handed me over to the authorities,” the alleged kidnap victim said.
According to Choksi, “while we were waiting, the cash of 1500 Dollars that had been returned to me earlier, was robbed from me and given to the boatman, stating that once the interview would be done, he would be taking me back to Antigua, effectively rendering me without any source of communication, funds and without telling my family members or legal representatives about my whereabouts”
He said at that point, Gurmit Singh came to him and stated that plans had changed and that “you will go today’.
“They further informed me that they would be handing me over to the Police Commissioner in Dominica and that there will be a coast guard boat coming in one hour to make this transfer happen. It did not arrive for the longest time and I was just about to fall asleep when the alarm was raised that the coast guard vessel was finally approaching” the statement said.
He said he was received by a battery of police on the port one of whom introduced himself as the Chief of Police and told Choksi that the reason he was caught was because of an Interpol Red Corner notice.
“After walking the hallway of the port was handed over to an Officer and team to bring me to the central police station” Choksi added.
On Monday, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that the rights of Mehul Choksi, whom he identified as an Indian, not as Choksi claims, an Antiguan citizen since 2017, would be respected.
“His rights will be respected as has been done thus far and let the court decide what will happen. We have no issues in so far as the matter relates to Antigua and or India, we are part of our own community and we must recognize our duties and responsibilities in this regard,” Mr. Skerrit said, in the first such statement since Dominican courts began to hear the case.
Choksi has since been charged with illegal entry into Dominica an application for bail filed by his lawyers which was initially denied, is expected to expected to come up for another hearing on June 14.
Choksi is wanted in India in connection with a 2 billion dollar bank fraud case.
Choksi had gone missing two weeks ago from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 after he fled Delhi.
Accrding to Dominica police, he was detained in Dominica on Monday the 24th of May, 2021.