The Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet held a brief discussion into Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s abduction claim, as well as on the decisions rendered by the Magistrate and the High Court of Dominica, local media reported.
“No new information has emanated from the Dominica authorities that now hold Choksi’s fate in their hands. The authorities in Antigua continue their investigation of Choksi’s claim that he was abducted in Antigua. 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 Antigua News Room quoted a Cabinet note as saying following the discussion.
Choksi, who is currently facing charges of entering Dominica illegally, was “unlawfully renditioned” from Antigua and Barbuda to Dominica so that he would no longer have the option of appealing to the UK Privy Council, his lawyer contended on Thursday.
Michael Polak, part of the legal team representing Choksi and an expert in providing legal assistance to foreign nationals around the world, told a virtual news conference that the team has also filed a complaint with the War Crimes Unit of the UK’s Metropolitan Police on the ground that the Indian fugitive businessman was tortured.
Describing the case as one of “egregious breach of the rule of law and fundamental fairness”, Polak said: “What happened to Choksi has been terrible. He was lured into a property, kidnapped, a bag placed over his head, beaten, forced on to a boat and unlawfully renditioned into another country.
“In Antigua, he has the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London to determine whether the government is acting properly against him. In Dominica, he does not have such protection. The motive behind the kidnapping could not be clearer.”
He further said there was sufficient evidence Barbara Jarabica and the other men involved in the incident had carried out a “reconnaissance or a failed attempt to kidnap” Choksi in April this year, adding that the fugitive businessman should be returned to Antigua.
Giving details of the abduction attempt, Polak said Jabarica, who lured Choksi to her Airbnb accommodation on May 23, had specifically asked the owner if there is a place for docking a small boat in the backyard.
Revealing chats between Jabarica and owner of the properties, Polak said she had discussed taking two adjoining properties after getting confirmation about docking place for boats.
Polak alleged that one property was used by people with her, who were part of kidnapping team.
The lawyer also claimed that soon after the kidnapping of Choksi, Jabarica left Antigua and Barbuda in a private plane to Dominica.
Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case had gone missing on May 23 from Antigua sparking a massive manhunt.
He was reportedly captured on May 26 in Dominica.
Choksi is facing the charges of entering Dominica illegally.
A Dominican High Court has restrained the extradition.
He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.