Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in a Rs 13,500-crore loan fraud case in India, has claimed that his alleged abduction from Antigua and Barbuda was in return for India providing COVID-19 vaccines to the Caribbean country.
In an interview with India Today, Choksi said he had been hearing rumours about his possible kidnapping since 2019 Lok Sabha elections in India. "I was told a plane is arriving and many people said they are watching you and will take you out and kill you," he said
Referring to India's export of COVID-19 vaccines to Antigua and Barbuda, Choksi said, "...when the vaccinations came, people told me they were given in return of you. I could very well imagine it (abduction) was a plot towards that."
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Choksi had mysteriously gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda, where he had been staying after fleeing India, on May 23. He was detained in neighbouring island country of Dominica on the next day for illegal entry. While initial reports suggested that he had gone for a romantic escapade with his girlfriend, his lawyers alleged in court that Choksi was kidnapped and tortured.
Choksi said he was abducted from Antigua and Barbuda by two persons claiming to be agents of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). During the interview, he also identified the pictures of Gurmit Singh and Gurjit Bhandal, whom he claimed were RAW agents, and his friend Barbara Jarabica from whose house he was kidnapped.
"I was under the belief that they (Singh and Bhandal) were RAW agents. Even when I reached Dominica, I heard stories about RAW agents and they are around islands and places around the world," Choksi said.
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He said Singh and Bhandal told him that they were RAW agents and were taking him for interrogation. He also claimed that they "were very tough with me" and beat him.
How was he kidnapped
Narrating the events of his alleged kidnapping, Choksi said he had gone to Jarabica's house to pick her up for dinner on May 23. He was sitting in her home when a group of people entered from two sides.
"They said we know who you are and we are taking you for interrogation. Two of them took my hands, two of them took my legs and I was totally overtaken by them," Choksi claimed.
The police in Antigua and Barbuda is investigating Choksi's complaint of kidnapping. Choksi's legal team has named four individuals who it claims were the key players in his abduction. Jarabica, a 31-year old Hungarian national, Singh, Bhandal, and one Gurdip Bath, who is a diplomat for St Kitts and Nevis, are among the accused.
Choksi is currently in Antigua and Barbuda, where he returned after nearly 51 days of custody in Dominica. He was granted bail by Dominica High Court to travel back for seeking medical help and return to face trial when given fitness clearance by his doctors.
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