New Delhi, June 7: Fugitive businessman diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is currently in Dominica, has named mysterious woman Barbara Jabarica, and ‘Indian officers Gurmit Singh and Narindra Singh in his complaint filed with the Antigua and Barbuda Police.
On June 4, IANS was first to report the name of Gurmit Singh, a resident of India whose name was mentioned in the passenger list of the two vessels -- Lady Anne and Calliope of Arne. IANS had accessed the pictures of the vessels, several documents, and two men dressed in black ‘kurta pajama' standing onboard with three other men. Mehul Choksi Case: Antigua And Barbuda Police Launch Probe Into the Fugitive Diamond Tycoon’s ‘Possible Abduction’.
The passenger list of Callioppe of Arne mentions the names of Gurjit Bhandal, a resident of Birmingham in the UK, and Gurmit Singh, a resident of India, according to the records of the Cobra tours. The Calliope of Arne had entered the Portsmouth port in Dominica on May 25, according to the Customs and Excise department documents. Choksi's complaint with the Antigua Police was filed on June 2. Mehul Choksi Case: Dominican Govt Tells Court to Reject Fugitive Businessman's Habeas Corpus Petition.
In his complaint, Choksi, who is facing charges of entering Dominica illegally, has stated that he has been residing in Antigua and Barbuda for the last three years, and there he came in contact with Jabarica, who used to stay in his neighbourhood. He also stated that he had gone to meet Jabarica on May 23 at around 5 pm when he was abducted by 8 to 10 people claiming to be Antigua police officers.
In his complaint to the police, Choksi alleged that the people who abducted him said that they will be taking him to the St John's police station. When he resisted and requested to contact his lawyers, "I was physically restrained and hit from all sides", the fugitive businessman said in the complaint.
'I attempted to get away, but I was quickly overpowered, owing to being so heavily outnumbered due to my poor state of health. My attackers continued to beat me mercilessly with bare hands and also utilised a Taser (gun) 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,' Choksi said.
Choksi further said that the attackers put him on a wheelchair, as he was in almost comatose state. 'I was unable to resist when they tied my hands, legs and body to the wheel chair. 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,' he said.
Choksi further said that in the same state he was taken to the backside of Jabarica's house and was placed on what seemed like a very small watercraft. 'During this entire ordeal, Jabarica did not even attempt to help me or assist in any other way by calling for help from outside,' he said. 'The manner in which Jabarica conducted herself, including by not helping me get free from the said persons, and her subsequent lack of initiative in contacting the police clearly points to the fact that she was an integral part of this entire scheme to kidnap me,' The fugitive businessman alleged.
He also said that he was shifted to a much larger boat where his mask was removed. 'I realised we could not possibly be going to St John's police station, as there was no need to utilise a boat to go there. Upon my asking where I was being taken, they gave very evasive answers and ordered me in threatening manner to remain silent or face further consequences,' Choksi claimed.
He further stated that there appeared to be two Indians on board and three persons of Carribean descent. 'From the way they conducted themselves so far, the Indian men, they seemed to be highly experienced mercenaries or contractors, hired specifically for this purpose of detaining and abducting me in such a brutal and unlawful manner,' he said.
Choksi also pointed out that one of the Indian captors started talking to him, stating that they had been keeping him under observation for almost a year. 'They knew intimate details about my household, such as I had a nun, where I would walk, my favourite restaurants, my daily schedules etc.,' he said. Choksi further said that after sometime, the second Indian man came and asked him detailed questions about his finances, 'where I have offshore bank accounts etc'.
I of course could not answer, as I have none. My answers were unsatisfactory so they threatened me by saying that there would be dire consequences to my family and myself when I am back in India, he said.
Choksi said, 'I was made to speak on phone with a man who identified himself as Narinder Singh.' He said that he was the chief agent in charge of my case. He began to pressurise me to say that I had cooperated with my captors and that I had accompanied them on my own free volition, which of course was not true.
'Upon hearing me resist, he threatened me by promising that physical harm would befall upon me and my family if I did not comply. He also said to leave my friendship with Jabarica out of the picture as it would lead to a public scandal and cause grievous hurt to my wife,' he said.
Choksi also said that after sailing for over 15 to 17 hours, the boat stopped moving and 'I was informed that we had arrived, which could have been around 9.30 a.m. top 10 a.m. Antigua time'.
He claimed that when he asked about the whereabouts, he 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,' he said.
Choksi in his complaint further alleged that he was soon informed that since Dominica was closed, we could have to stay there all day. 'This caused much dismay in 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,' he said.
'While we were waiting, $1,500 in cash was robbed from me and given to the boatman, stating that once the interview is done, he would be taking me back to Antigua, effectively rendering me without any cash, source of communication and without telling my family members or legal representatives about my whereabouts,' he claimed.
'At this point, the man, Gurmit Singh, came to me and stated that the plans have changed and that 'you will go today', Choksi said, adding that they further informed him that they would be handing him over to the Police Commissioner of 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,' he said. The fugitive diamantaire claimed that he was received by a battery of policemen, including the chief, at the port. 'He introduced himself as the chief of police and the reason I was caught was for Interpol red corner notice.' Choksi said.
'At the port, I was handed over to an officer and his team to take me to the central police station,' he said. Choksi then said that he was under the impression that he would be interrogated in the night only as told by an Indian official, but instead, after hours drive to the police station, he was immediately checked into the police headquarters and put in one small cell.
Choksi further said that he was handcuffed at the port itself and the two ‘kidnappers', who were in possession of his social security card, told him that they would take care of his registration in Dominica. 'My licence was still with me which the police took note of when I arrived at the police station,' Choksi stated in his complaint.
Choksi also said that he was under the assumption that all his captors would disembark and come with him, but he was transferred to the coast guard vessel alone. 'I was met by a large number of men who were uniformed. I met a person who introduced himself as Maxis, the police. I was thinking that my ordeal may have been over as I would have the opportunity of recounting the horrors of the torturous journey I had faced so far,' he said.
'But he declined to meet me, and I was taken to a holding cell at a police station in Roseau, which did not have the basic necessities of a mattress and was barely 20 square feet in size,' he added.
Choksi claimed that he was further denied medical treatment for the cuts and bruises and was also not allowed to talk to any legal representatives as 'I was informed that we don't do that here with prisoners'. He also claimed that he was not given a change of clothes for the first few days. 'After 2-3 days, they gave me few pairs of clothes, but even then I would have to clean the clothes myself and hang them out to dry,' he said.
The fugitive businessman said that his lawyers were allowed to speak to him after a few days. Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23, sparking a massive manhunt. He was captured in Dominica three days later on May 26. A Dominican court has restrained the extradition of Choksi till further orders after hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by his lawyers.
Last Wednesday, Choksi had appeared before a local magistrate in Dominica and pleaded not guilty of entering the Caribbean island nation illegally. On May 27, first pictures of Choksi in Dominica emerged online, showing several signs of bruises on his arms and a swollen eye. The fugitive businessman is wanted in India in connection with the Rs 13,5000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 07, 2021 06:45 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).