Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi on Sunday, 6 June, disclosed the names of his alleged abductors to the Antigua Police, who are looking into his alleged abduction from Antigua to Dominica on 23 May.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that Choksi's lawyers gave the names to the police commissioner in a complaint, the Antigua News Room reported.
Adding more details of his ‘abduction,’ Choksi’s complaint to the Antiguan Police stated that, “Over the past year, I have been on friendly terms with Barbara Jabarica. On 23 May, she asked me to pick her up at her house. When I went there, 8-10 men appeared from all the entrances and beat me mercilessly (sic),” news agency ANI quoted.
He added that the men took his phone, watch and wallet but returned his money.
“When I was being beaten up, Jabarica didn’t even attempt to help me or assist in any other way by calling for help from outside – the manner in which Jabarica conducted herself clearly points that she was an integral part of this entire scheme to kidnap me,” Choksi said in his complaint, ANI reported.
Choksi Faces Trial Over ‘Illegal Entry’ into Dominica
Choksi is facing trial in Dominica for allegedly entering the country illegally from Antigua, where he had been living after fleeing India over the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. He had gone missing on 23 May from Antigua, sparking a massive manhunt and was captured in Dominica on 26 May.
Even though Choksi’s lawyers had claimed on 2 June that he was abducted on a vessel since Choksi pleaded not guilty to illegal entry at his court appearance, he was denied bail. The Dominican High Court adjourned the hearing in the matter to 14 June.
According to local media reports, his team of lawyers connived with Opposition leaders to pressure the judiciary, which rather than questioning Choksi's illegal entry from Antigua to Dominica, believed his lawyers' version that he was abducted, ANI reported.
PM Browne was quoted as saying, “Choksi has filed a complaint with the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda to the extent that he was abducted. He made a formal claim through his attorneys that he was abducted from Antigua and taken to Dominica so it is a report that police is taking seriously and they are currently investigating the abduction.”
Dominica Opposition leader Lennox Linton had reportedly claimed that Choksi was brought to Dominica in the Yacht Calliope of Arne around 10 pm on 23 May.
However, the Associates Times reported that Choksi’s family had claimed that he was in Antigua till 5 pm on 23 May, which makes it impossible to cover a 120-mile distance in four to five hours, which approximately takes about 12-13 hours.
His lawyers had earlier alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking Antiguan and Indian and was brought to Dominica on a boat, PTI reported.
Unnamed doctors of the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital were quoted by the report saying that a nail injury cited by Choksi’s lawyers is an old one while other bruises could be new and could have even been caused by a "slight push".
Choksi who is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of bank fraud, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering, bought Antigua and Barbuda citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment Program in 2017, and has been living there since 2018 after fleeing Indian agencies.
He is currently housed in the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital under police guard and faces two separate legal proceedings in the eastern Caribbean island country.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI, Antigua News Room and Associates Times)