REAL NEWS: Beleaguered businessman Mehul Choksi is being targeted for another attempt at removing him from Antigua and Barbuda, a reliable source has revealed.
Reportedly, plans for a second abduction are underway, with the objective, this time, of transporting him to Guyana, from where Choksi will be deported to his native India to face criminal charges.
Ironically, the former diamantaire travelled, two years ago, to the Indian Embassy in Guyana, where he reportedly renounced his Indian citizenship and surrendered that country’s passport.
The source says that Choksi is aware of these new abduction plans, which come only months after he was kidnapped from his Jolly Harbour neighbourhood; physically assaulted – as photos and medical reports proved; and taken by boat to Dominica.
In that case, however, plans to hand him over to the Government of India failed, reportedly because the aircraft that should have taken him out of Dominica arrived late.
In the interim, his wife raised the alarm, and a series of missteps by the Dominican police, as well as the quick response of Choksi’s lawyers here and in the Nature Isle, short-circuited his removal.
After weeks of legal maneuvering and time spent in both jail and the hospital, Choksi was returned to Antigua to seek medical treatment. Since then, no further word has been heard from either the Magistrate’s or High Court in Dominica.
Most interesting, however, is that Choksi has told another media outlet that, to date, no official police report has been filed regarding his claim of abduction and torture.
This is despite the fact that his claims were verified by a report from the Johnson’s Point Police Station and investigations by international media and human-rights organizations.
Choksi has said repeatedly that he is innocent of fraud accusations and, at present, is fighting attempts to deprive him of citizenship and to extradite him to India.
But Prime Minister Gaston Browne has made it clear that he wishes to be rid of the Indian man and resisted early attempts to have him returned here, where he could claim the rights of citizenship.
However, pundits have argued that there can be only one class of citizen; therefore, persons who become Antiguan and Barbudan by this route are entitled to all legal and constitutional protections, they say.
Accordingly, this reported second attempt to abduct and remove Choksi could undermine the value of Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).