Contributed by: Andrew Lewis
Antigua/Dominica: Raising concerns, several prominent media groups in India are presenting Mehul Choksi as a victim who was forcefully abducted and taken to Dominica; they are desperately utilising documents/information randomly to push their stories without any shreds of evidence. Some Indian media organisations are defaming the Caribbean region.
The India Media appears to be peddling the same stories of Mehul Choksi that the family and lawyers are telling. In contrast, lawyers and family are striving to get him out of Dominica’s prison to save him from being deported to India, where he is wanted in an eye-popping $2 billion fraud; ironically, it is more than the whole economy of Antigua and Barbuda.
Atlee Patrick Rodney – Commissioner of Police of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda office, stated that the information shown by the media outlets in India have no authenticity, and the investigation is undergoing.
Office of Police Commissioner noted that the media is conducting its own examinations and spreading information that the country’s investigative agencies do not verify. Mr Rodney’s office stated that the media must refrain from circulating stories that are attempting to misguide the actual investigations. He said the media is trying to confuse the entire conduct with their conspiracy theories. In an unofficial statement, police have said that the story of a boat roaming around the media is still under investigation, but the timings of Choksi’s missing from Antigua and the boat’s departure does not suggest that they both are connected.
Perhaps, the media is clearly following the stories narrated by Mehul Choksi’s wife and lawyers, rather than exhibiting the conspiracy hatched by Mehul Choksi. His wife, Priti Choksi, had stated that Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne wants to extradite Choksi to India. Similarly, the fact emerges as the biggest reason for Choksi to shift the base of his operations from Antigua to Cuba, as reported by Associates Times earlier.
Priti Choksi has also said that there were more than 8 men belonging to Antiguan and Indian armed forces who forcefully picked up Choksi from Antigua, and her husband fears a significant threat in Antigua and Barbuda. Choksi was well aware of the commitment of PM Browne to send him back to India, so he decided to plan a shift from Antigua and Barbuda. Why would he still stay in the country? The question remains unanswered.
It was merely impossible for Mehul Choksi to officially travel out of the country as Interpol had earlier issued a red corner notice against him. The only way out was a missing story, which did not end up well. There can be involvement of secret services of India in Choksi’s arrest, but it is not possible that Antigua police or Indian police picked him up from Jolly Harbour as the areas is highly secure and no person can trespass without being captured in the cameras. Moreover, there are some checkpoints as well to identify
the person before entering the vicinity where Choksi lives (Harbour Island).
Making it more probable, Prime Minister Gaston Browne had also asked Dominica earlier to deport Mehul Choksi to India as terming him a ‘liability for Antigua and Barbuda. It is also being said showcasing steadfast stand on Mehul Choksi case; it is learnt that PM Browne is all set send a written letter to Attorney General of Dominica seeking his deportation to India.
An Antiguan law firm, who had been providing legal advice for the last five decades, told that they are closely observing media and the picture is entirely different from the day when Mehul Choksi was arrested and after the emergence of his family and especially lawyers.
The firm allegedly states that some media houses are partially influenced by the well-wishers of Mehul Choksi, which might be the reason that some media houses are making efforts to portray Choksi as a victim of crime. Yet, he is a criminal of the international level.
Most of the media houses in India do not have any offices in the whole Caribbean region or do they have correspondents to garner credible information. The only source to them is the information which is being outflown by the family to derail the court as well as international coverage of Choksi.
The family is making efforts to spread more and more theories in Mehul Choksi saga, which began on May 23, 2021, to delay the deportation. In legal terms, the bruises and bloodeye cannot be the evidence of Choksi being abducted. The media must emphasise on that there is still no evidence to prove that India and Antigua is partnering with the Mahul Choksi episode. This is very important here to mention that an eyewitness of the arrest incident in Dominica had revealed in a local newspaper that Choksi made an effort to escape when police officials tried to apprehend him. Harry Baron stated that due to rocky surface of the beach, Choksi might have sustained injuries.
Here again, Indian media is under the radar as none of them has made efforts to obtain the information from local police authorities to know how Choksi was arrested, where he was arrested and in what circumstances he was arrested. However, police have not yet issued an official statement revealing the entire arrest story. Indian media is of the highest regard in the world and anything reported without factual information is defaming their reputation. The media must understand by now that it is Choksi and his aides who are fuelling the cooked up stories to divert the issue from streamline.