Antigua and Barbuda: The Caribbean media house – Writeups24 did an exclusive interview with Gurjit Bhandal and Gurmit Singh, who are claimed to be involved in the sudden disappearance of fugitive Mehul Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23 2021.
Gurjit Bhandal denied the claims of being involved and thrashed the allegations of Choksi’s lawyers of his involvement in the abduction of Choksi. He added that any Antiguan authorities had not approached him yet but would cooperate if he investigated Choksi’s case.
In a conversation with Writeups24, Gurjit Bhandal denied any links with Indian agencies and stated that he could not even recall the last time he went to India. Bhandal said he is a resident of the Midlands, United Kingdom and is of Indian origin.
On being asked their location on the day Choksi disappeared, Bhandal replied that in the morning of May 23, 2021, they were at the English Harbour and cleared their immigration late morning and then sailed for Dominica.
On being asked why their trip was ended in Dominica, Bhandal stated, “We planned to reach Dominica and later sail to St Lucia, but it did not go with the plan as I fell seasick after hours of continuous sailing, therefore, we ended our trip in Dominica, and then we took a charter to Barbados.”
Bhandal asserted that it is not strange for foreigners to sail around different Caribbean countries, as most of the people do it, and in the Caribbean region, some associations even host particular sailing races in which people from around the globe participates.
On being questioned if they know, Barbara Jarabica
or they ever travelled with her, Bhandal replied that they do not know anyone by this name, but as everyone comes across, many people on the plane. With limited flights, it’s natural that to came across the same people.
“There were 21 flights to the Caribbean, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now only two flights in a week, so this raises the chances that we bump in with the same people again and again.” stated Gurjit Singh Bhandal.
Giving a reply to whether they travelled with Barbara on May 28 2021, from Dominica to St Lucia, Bhandal replied that they did not travel to Dominica on May 28, but instead, they went to Barbados on that day in a charter flight.
On being asked if they met and a person of Indian origin during their voyage, Bhandal replied, “As I said in the beginning, we meet the same people, again and again. It is also my everyday gesture to say Hi to anyone on the flight, but I can’t remember the names because the encounters are just random.”
There were allegations that Bhandal and Singh attempted to dock at Dominica on April 12, to which they replied that it is fallacious as the officials had asked them to quarantine for 5 days, but to save their time, they decided to go to St Lucia.
Writeups 24 further asked them that how they managed to dock in Dominica on May 23, to which they replied that the protocols change from time to time; during April, there was a mandatory quarantine and strict restrictions, but later at the end of May, the government changed the rules that travellers only need a negative PCR test for entering the island and so they were able to enter Dominica.
Bhandal further emphasized that he reached Dominica
along with Gurmit Singh on the same day they left from Antigua and Barbuda, and they cleared customs on the following day: May 24.
On being asked why Choksi and his lawyers took their names, Bhandal stated, “On the morning of Monday, I was not feeling well, so I told them I like to get out of the boat. Most of the customs and coast guards took our picture and came and started examining the boat and started investigating. It is possible that might someone would have shared our information with them as our boat was still there.”
Writeups24 further asked them that if they know Mehul Choksi, they replied that they only came to know about Mehul Choksi after few friends shared news information relating to his disappearance.
Gurjit Bhandal added that Gurmit Singh is his friend, and they frequently go to sailing together in the Mediterranean Sea, and this time they thought of going to the Caribbean.
He informed that they booked the boat online on May 19 and started their journey on May 20 and did not knew the yacht captain, and throughout their journey, they both stayed on the yacht.
Writeups24 asked them if they frequently travel to the Caribbean, to which they replied that they sailed in the Caribbean in April 2021, but the boat they used earlier was previously booked, so they online hired the Calliope of Arne yacht.
Following the statement, they added that they are sailing in the Caribbean region since April 2021, and in the month of May, it was their second trip to the region, and during their April sailing, they stayed for 4 to 5 days in Antigua and Barbuda, one day in Dominica and about four days in St Lucia.
Bhandal further added that in April 2021, they borrowed a Charter plane from St Lucia so that they can travel back to Antigua and Barbuda after sailing.
Bhandal informed that he is in the property purchasing business and chiefly deals in the West Midlands properties, but he does not operate his work in the Caribbean region while his friend (Gurmit Singh) is retired.