Probing Mehul Choksi’s version, says Antigua cabinet
Antigua and Barbuda said on Thursday that it was sparing no efforts to uncover all facts in the alleged abduction of fugutive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who claimed in a police affidavit that 8-10 people, including a Hungarian woman and two British nationals of Indian origin, were involved in forcibly shifting him from the Caribbean island where he holds citizenship to Dominica three weeks ago.
The woman, Barbara Jarabik, and two men, Gurmit Singh and Gurjit Singh Bhandal, denied any role in the alleged abduction but the businessman’s wife, Priti Choksi, attacked them and said their actions were part of a botched state sponsored scheme.
Antigua’s cabinet issued a note saying that it discussed Choksi’s abduction allegations. “Since abductions and kidnappings are not crimes usually reported in Antigua, no effort is being spared to uncover all the facts in this supposed abduction,” the note said. “No new information has emanated from the Dominica authorities that now hold Mr Choksi’s fate in their hands,” it added.
Choksi, who is wanted in India on ₹13,500 crore bank fraud charges, disappeared from Antigua on May 23 and was detained in Dominica, roughly 100 nautical miles away, three days later. On June 3, Choksi had filed a complaint with Royal Police Force of Antigua naming Jarabik, Gurmit Singh, Narendra Singh and others for abducting him and taking him to Dominica, where he is currently facing illegal entry charges.
Jarabik, a Hungarian national who resides in UK, claimed she knew Choksi as Raj since August and that he wanted her to join the diamond business. She denied speculation that she was the 62-year-old’s girlfriend or had any role in his disappearance.
Gurmit Singh and Gurjit Singh Bhandal told local Caribbean media that they left Antigua for Dominica by late morning on May 23 and knew nothing about Choksi or his case. They also denied knowing Jarabik. Michael Polak, a lawyer representing Choksi in London, has filed a complaint with the Scotland Yard police seeking probe into the role of the British nationals.
Priti Choksi’s statement also targeted Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne for lying. “This bogey of going to Cuba from the Commonwealth of Dominica is nothing but the result of a botched up google search, where people have confused the Commonwealth of Dominica with the Dominican Republic as Cuba is in the direction of the Dominican Republic and both of them i.e the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Dominican Republic are in opposite directions,” Priti said referring to Jarabik’s claim that she never went to Dominica.
Browne had said last week Choksi might have gone to Dominica with his girlfriend.
Indian officials said they were confident that Choksi will be deported to India by Dominican authorities as soon as he exhausts legal proceedings in “illegal entry” charge there. The case will be heard next on June 14. Dominica’s PM Roosevelt Skerrit and local police have referred to Choksi as an Indian citizen.