Played no role in kidnapping Mehul Choksi: Antiguan Prime Minister | Latest India News

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New Delhi: Two weeks after Dominica dropped illegal entry charges against Mehul Choksi based on a report by the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has denied his involvement government in the kidnapping of the fugitive businessman last year.

“It is true that I would have stated publicly that our preference would have been for him to be repatriated directly to India from Dominica, but that was on the grounds that he had skipped the island. At that time, we did not We had no information or any speculation that he might have been abducted,” Browne told the Antiguan parliament on Tuesday. He maintained that his government had never facilitated Choksi’s disappearance.

The Antiguanewsroom news portal quoted Browne as saying that if the Indian government needed his country’s help with extradition, there would be no need for a third party to get Choksi out of his country.

“There’s no way we were involved in any decision or attempt to have him unlawfully removed from the state. If he wasn’t a citizen he would have been made persona non grata and you would be insured that before law enforcement came after him, there would have been a plane on the tarmac to fly him back to India,” Browne said.

Opposition parties in Antigua, as well as Dominica, have demanded that the governments of the two Caribbean countries be clear on the issue after Dominican prosecutors decided last month to drop charges against Choksi.

After disappearing on May 23, 2021 from Antigua, of which he is a citizen, and found in Dominica the following day, Choksi and his legal team alleged that he had been abducted by Indian agents, tortured and brought to Dominica in a vessel. . He alleged that a Hungarian woman and two British citizens were among the 7-8 people who abducted him and took him to Dominica. All three have denied the allegations.

Dominica police convicted Choksi of entering the country illegally, after which the Indian government sent a team of investigators in hopes of securing his deportation. Choksi filed a habeas corpus petition in the High Court of Dominica alleging kidnapping and torture and was returned to Antigua on medical grounds.

The Royal Antigua Police were investigating kidnapping charges following a complaint filed by the fugitive businessman’s lawyers.

In a 19-page report, Antiguan police concurred with Choksi’s claims that he was forcibly taken by five people and dropped off in Dominica. They asked for Interpol’s help in locating the alleged kidnappers.

Browne said on Tuesday that the police report had not yet been shared with anyone in his cabinet or the attorney general’s office. He stressed that his government took immediate action when Choksi disappeared last year. Browne said when Choksi was first reported missing he feared they would be charged with facilitating his escape. “…so, we contacted the police and asked them to issue a missing person notice to Interpol.”

Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has yet to comment on his country’s decision to drop charges against Choksi, who is in Antigua, where the Indian government is fighting for his extradition.

Choksi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, said last month that the truth always comes out in the end, no matter how hard someone tries to stop it or hide it. “Lies are only temporary delays to the inevitable. It was extremely insensitive for some people to label my client Mehul Choksi’s injuries as fake because of a legal strategy.

The Indian government has yet to comment on the matter.

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