Antigua & Barbuda police deny involvement in “kidnapping” of Indian fugitive
ST. JOHN’S – Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney denied reports that India-born fugitive Mehul Choksi had been kidnapped here and taken to the neighbouring Caribbean country.
Choksi, a diamond mogul and naturalised Antigua & Barbuda citizen, is set to appear in a High Court on Friday in Dominica.
He was reported missing on Sunday, after he was last seen leaving his home in a motor car.
Attorney-at-law Wayne Marsh, who is among Dominica-based lawyers representing Choksi, said on Thursday that his client claimed he had been kidnapped by Antiguan and Indian law enforcement officials.
“We have no information or any indication from Antigua that he was forcefully removed,” Rodney said. “The only assertion we are hearing is what was said by the attorney and Dominica police officers are not confirming that story from the attorney.
“We have no information. We have no evidence that he was forcefully removed from Antigua, and even in the assertion made by the attorney, there is no such truth to any police officer in Antigua was involved…
“We had no involvement in any movement of him from Antigua to Dominica or wherever…”
Rodney said law enforcement officials from Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda are continuing their investigations into the matter.
“The initial information I got from Dominica is that (Choksi) arrived there by boat,” he said. “That is as much as they could tell me. He entered the island on the northern side by boat.
“They are also investigating the circumstances of his arrival. The last conversation I had with the Commissioner of Police in Dominica that is what he is pursuing as to how he got to Dominica.
“They are doing their part of that investigation, we also on our end in Antigua, now that we heard he left Antigua by boat we are investigating that aspect of it too.”
High Court judge, Justice Birnie Stephenson will hear on Friday, a habeas corpus writ that had been filed by attorneys in Dominica to determine whether Choksi’s detention in that island is lawful.
Choksi, 62, was granted Antigua & Barbuda citizenship four years ago under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
He is wanted by the Indian judicial authorities for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption and money laundering.
Indian authorities want him extradited to face the charges, which he denies.
Attorney Marsh said the Dominica police has failed to allow Choksi access to his lawyers, although an earlier ruling by the judge cleared the way for this to happen.
“The sergeant-in-charge at the desk had indicated that he will not allow me to see Mr. Choksi, despite we showing him the order of the court and informing him that the chief of police had been served with a copy of the order,” he said.
“I am not sure what is in the contemplation of the police, but the action of the police seems to be very bizarre.”
But he said his client seemed to be “in a much better spirit”.