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Thursday, February 22, 2024

India ready to get back the malefactor to the homeland


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Mehul Choksi a prime culprit of the 2018 PNB Scam in India is sure to bring back on the land and face legalities thereafter.

This was on Thursday when the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi gave official confirmation of the nation’s unmatched efforts to bring back the criminal on the land. The official spokesperson of MEA Arindam Bagchi on Thursday asserted “Let me emphasize that India remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure that fugitives are brought back to India to face justice.”

The scammer’s details till today can be looked at through a series of events.

The fugitive holds the citizenship of the Caribbean country Antigua and Barbuda since 2017. The nation being small offers the big investors’ citizenship and Mehul Choksi being one of them holds the citizenship of the land.

When the accused was named by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Rs 13,500 crores PNB scam case in 2018, the latter fled away to the Caribbean nation. Since then, he has lived there in Antigua.

The things came to light when on May 23, the fugitive’s family registered a missing complaint of him with Antigua police.

Two days later on May 25, an official letter from Dominica police was released as the accused had been arrested for illegally entering the island.

The next day, on May 26 the legal team of Choksi filed a habeas corpus petition (a writ petition which asks for lawful grounds to be presented for the detention of a person) in the Dominican court. The legal team now added a new angle to the case as they said that their client was not missing but was rather abducted from Antigua and tortured and taken to Dominica.

The following day, on May 27, a private jet of Qatar Airways namely Bombardier Global 5000 Qatar Executive business jet was found at the Douglas Charles Airport in Dominica. The plane was allegedly brought to the Dominican airport with the legal documents of Choksi and awaited there only. The jet landed in Delhi on May 27 from Doha and left for Dominica.

The Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne also confirmed the news that the private jet at Dominican airport was brought to take back the scammer to India. He also urged the Dominican government to let Choksi be handed over to India for further investigation on various charges he is booked under.

The development in the case was even confirmed by the sources of the Indian Security establishment as they said the team of officials from CBI and the Ministry of External Affairs has been sent to Dominica to bring the culprit Choksi back.

The Antiguan Prime Minister even added to his statement that Choksi had left Antigua with his ‘girlfriend’ to spend ‘quality time’ with her in Dominica and had ended up committing a ‘monumental error’ and that the Antiguan land would not accept him back and he should be deported back to his homeland.

An official letter from Antigua’s PM’s office was released saying “Choksi has become Dominica’s problem at this time. If he finds himself in Antigua, the problem reverts to Antigua and Barbuda. The preference of the Cabinet… is for Choksi to be repatriated to India from Dominica.”

However, the family and the legal team of Choksi went on repeating the event to be an “Indian Operation” and that the offender was wilfully tortured and incarcerated and was put in Dominican boundary. The severe allegations however are not yet dismissed by the officials of Indian agencies.

The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi on Thursday confirmed India’s efforts to bring the offender back to his homeland and face justice as he said “Let me emphasize that India remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure that fugitives are brought back to India to face justice.” He further added, “We will continue to make all efforts to ensure that he is brought back to India.”

Mr. Bagchi further said that as the diamantine is in Dominican Authority’s custody and certain legal proceedings are underway, he could not reveal more details as it is in the domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The alleged girlfriend of Mehul Choksi, Babara Jarabica from Bulgaria was claimed of meeting Choksi for the past six months. As per the reports of the Indian Express the lawyer claimed the woman to have befriended Choksi during morning walks and then helped his abduction and his move to Dominica.

On May 28, the Dominican court had ordered that Choksi would not be removed from the country. The court of Dominica denied him bail, and he was further booked inside until June 14 as the next hearing is to take place on the date. His habeas corpus petition however continues to be heard in the Dominican high court.

In the recent reports, Choksi was found with multiple bruises over his body, his eyes gone red. He was then admitted to the Dominica China Friendship hospital on the island. Unverified pictures of the alleged girlfriend Babara Jarabica in a two-piece suit on the Caribbean beach went viral on social media.

It is evident that the scammer was transported to Dominica via yacht. The local media also put the picture of the yacht public. However, the passenger manifest of the yacht did not show Choksi on board but had identified two individuals one as Indian and the other to be British citizens namely Gurmit Singh and Gurjit Bhandal. The owner of the agency which facilitated the trip put his hands up saying the “authorities” had contacted him to arrange clearance for Bhandal and Singh on May 25.

After all, such allegations and legal proceedings, the wife of Choksi speaks an altogether different story. Mehul’s wife Preeti Choksi had now alleged Indian agencies behind all such doings and called it an “Indian Operation”.

According to her, Babara Jarabica, a renovation industrial person visited Antigua now and then met Choksi frequently. She alleged, on May 23 evening, the woman asked Choksi to join her at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and asked him to accompany her to her new apartment which she was interested in buying.

On his entry, few men attacked him mercilessly. He was tied with a wheelchair and was gagged with a plastic bag. The entire thing was done to abduct him and take him to Dominica. The woman disappeared then from the country. She alleged the Indian agencies to be 100% role-playing behind the attack on her husband and behind his legal proceedings going on in Dominican court, reports of the Indian express read.

She alleged the two men on the yacht to be included in the plot as narrated by her as she said “these two made my husband talk over the phone to a person named Narendra Singh. They said Singh was handling my husband’s case. This Narendra Singh told my husband not to reveal anything about what happened at Jolly Harbour. He asked for his silence over the woman’s name. He also asked him to stay and answer affirmatively in the court if asked to move back to India.” She further alleges the said person warning Choksi that he would be beaten up in the Dominican jails and skinned alive on reaching India if he did not follow the instructions.

While a legal team of Choksi and family are trying tough to not send Choksi back to India as he is an Antiguan citizen, the Indian government on the other hand is making all its efforts to ensure the return of the scammer to his homeland and hopes to get his custody based on charges filed against him in India and the Interpol Red Notice issued against him.

[author title=”Shreya Gohel” image=”http://localhost/gc2/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210127_014031.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle

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