Mehul Choksi claims he was abducted, thrashed by R&AW agents
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has claimed that he was abducted from Antigua by two agents of India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). In an interview with India Today, Choksi identified the pictures of Gurmit Singh and Gurjit Bhandal as the alleged abductors and claimed that they are R&AW agents. He also identified Barbara Jabarica, from whose house he was allegedly abducted.
In the interview, Choksi claimed that the alleged R&AW agents were tough with him and beat him. "They said they were R&AW agents and were taking me for interrogation. They were very tough with me and beat me here and there," he said. He also said that he had heard stories about the presence of R&AW agents in the islands when he reached Dominica.
Choksi said he went to pick Jabarica for dinner on May 23. He parked his car outside her house and went inside. "I felt nothing wrong...She made me sit on the sofa and just after 3-4 minutes, a group of people entered from two sides," Choksi narrated. "Two of them took my hands, two of them took my legs...I was totally overtaken by them."
Choksi claimed that he had been hearing rumors about his kidnapping since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "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. He also claimed that when COVID-19 "vaccinations came (from India to Antigua), people told me they were given in return of you."
Mehul Choksi was arrested by Dominican Police on May 26 for "illegal" entry. He also filed a complaint with the Antiguan Police, claiming he was forcibly brought to Dominica. He accused four individuals of his alleged abduction: Hungarian national Barbara Jabarica, British Indians Gurmit Singh (63) and Gurjit Singh Bhandal (50), and Gurdip Bath (45), a diplomat for St Kitts and Nevis.
Earlier this month, a Dominican court granted bail to Choksi on medical grounds and allowed him to travel to Antigua for treatment. This was considered a setback for India as it was looking to extradite Choksi to face trial in the Rs. 13,000 crore PNB loan fraud case. Indian agencies fear that Choksi may never return to Dominica once he is in Antigua.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding the PNB for over Rs. 13,500 crore through fraudulent transactions allegedly with the help of some of the bank's employees. While India is seeking the repatriation of Choksi to face trial, he has challenged this on the ground that he is no longer an Indian citizen. Notably, he was granted Antiguan citizenship in 2017.