Choksi legal team releases videos and photographs to prove he was kidnapped from Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda businessman Mehul Choksi. File   | Photo Credit: AP

A U.K.-based law firm looking after the case of fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi on Monday released images and videos purportedly showing individuals including Indian-origin men involved in an elaborate operation to take Mr. Choksi from Antigua to Dominica on May 23. Justice Abroad, the law firm has claimed, Mr. Choksi was kidnapped with the help of a female acquaintance and men who gagged and tied him to a wheel chair and used at least one unmarked boat to transport him from Antigua to Dominica.

Michael Polak of Justice Abroad has said the intention behind the entire episode was to “whisk away” Mr. Choksi to India by shortening the legal process. “The evidence in this case shows that Mr. Choksi was kidnapped from Antigua, where he had outstanding cases before the Courts, and unlawfully renditioned to Dominica. We believe that the aim was for him to be whisked away to India bypassing the proper legal processes in Antigua and Dominica,” said Mr. Polak in a statement.

Also read: Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi goes missing: Antiguan media

In documents and photographs seen by The Hindu, the legal team fighting the case in Dominica shows a few men who appeared to be of Indian origin on the deck of a boat that was allegedly used to transport Mr. Choksi from Antigua.

Two videos shared by the legal team show an unnamed boat allegedly carrying Mr. Choksi moving faster than the permissible limit of 8 kmph. The boat was not carrying a flag at the time of its movement from Antigua’s Jolly Harbour North Finger to a rendezvous with another boat that eventually took the fugitive diamond trader to Dominica. The legal team of Mr. Choksi claims that he came to the beach front villa in Antigua of his recent acquaintance Barbara Jarabik in the evening of May 23 and soon was overpowered by a group of men who “rushed out and beat him” . He was “gagged and tied to a wheel chair” at knife point and placed on the unmarked boat. This boat next placed him on Calliope of Arne which took him to Dominica. One of the photographs of Calliope of Arne shows passengers with South Asian features.

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Reconnaissance mission

Mr. Choksi’s team maintains that the kidnappers carried out a reconnaissance mission in early April and travelled from London to Antigua and Dominica. They claim that the team involved in the kidnapping that travelled between London and Dominica consisted of four individuals. The argument is aimed at countering the case in a Dominican court where Mr. Choksi is being tried for entering the island illegally. The legal team shows that Mr. Choksi was kidnapped and gagged and then handed to the authorities in Dominica who denied the due process of law to him for days.

Mr. Choksi’s team has been claiming that he belongs to Antigua as he acquired citizenship of that island in 2018. India however has maintained that he remains a fugitive who should be brought back to face justice for defrauding banks. The CBI and the Ministry of External Affairs have filed affidavits in the case providing documents showing Indian citizenship of Mr. Choksi.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 4:24:29 AM |

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