The woman who accompanied Mehul Choksi during his visit to Dominica was most likely working in cahoots with the team that abducted him, and not his girlfriend, as was widely reported in the media. A report published in India Today quotes sources close to the fugitive businessmen to claim the woman was part of the team, which was involved in his “abduction, torture and arrest”.
Choksi had gone missing a few days ago from Antigua and Barbuda and was later traced to and arrested in Dominica. The fugitive diamantaire had alleged through his counsel that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour on May 23 and people having links with India were responsible for his abduction.
According to the report, the woman was staying in Antigua and had started meeting Choksi during morning and evening walks. She allegedly befriended Choksi and invited him to come over to her place on May 23. A team was lurking at her residence, waiting for Choksi to turn up. When he did arrive at the woman’s apartment, the group abducted him and spirited him away to Dominica, where he was arrested.
The report comes a day after Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne made a sensational claim that Choksi travelled with his girlfriend to Dominica but was caught. The PM also exhorted the Dominican authorities to directly deport Choksi back to India. Prime Minister of Antigua Gaston Browne also conceded that the Indian government has sent a jet to Dominica to prove that Mehul Choksi is a fugitive before the court.
“Yes, I can confirm that there is a jet. My understanding is that the Indian government has sent certain documentation from the courts in India to confirm that Mr Choksi is a fugitive. My understanding is that it will be used before the court next Wednesday. As you know, the judge in Dominica has actually put a stay on his deportation until the hearing next Wednesday. So, the Indian government is going all out to ensure that he is repatriated to India and can stand trial there,” Gaston Browne emphasised.
Mehul Choksi arrested in Dominica
Dominican authorities had arrested Choksi on Wednesday for entering the country “illegally” from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been living since January 2018. The ‘missing’ ex-diamantaire was spotted in Dominica’s capital city of Roseau at the Canefield beach where he was disposing of some documents at sea. Police got suspicious and approached him. When he was asked about his purpose to visit Dominica, he refused to answer.
After Choksi was arrested in Dominica, it was speculated that he will be extradited to India. However, the hopes of repatriating PNB Bank scam accused Mehul Choksi to India was soon dashed as Dominica said that they will send him back to Antigua, not India.
Earlier, pictures of fugitive Mehul Choksi, held behind bars in Dominica, had surfaced on social media. The photographs were shared by Antigua News Room.
First pictures emerge of Mehul Choksi behind bars pic.twitter.com/UvelfTXKx8— AntiguaNewsRoom (@AntiguaNewsRoom) May 29, 2021
Choksi’s role in the Rs 13,600 crore PNB bank fraud
Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, are accused of perpetrating bank fraud worth Rs 13,600 crore on Punjab National Bank. The fraud came to light in 2018 and he along with his nephew have been on the run since. While Modi is currently in the UK, Choksi was in Antigua.
Recently, a UK court had ruled that his nephew Nirav Modi will be extradited to India from the UK to face charges of conspiring to defraud PNB. Choksi faces charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption and money laundering.