Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi , who got citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda in 2017, no longer possesses a valid passport from the Caribbean nation.
Reports suggest that his Antiguan and Barbudan passport has expired, and he now holds only his Indian passport. Due to the Red Notice issued against him by INTERPOL, Choksi’s passport cannot be renewed.
The passport by the CARICOM nation of Antigua and Barbuda was issued to Mehul Choksi on 16 November 2017, whereas the validity ended on 15 November 2022. Notably, the passports awarded under the citizenship by investment programmes are only valid for an initial period of five years.
Besides the passport, Mehul Choksi’s driving license issued by Antigua and Barbuda also expired on 05 May 2022.
Mehul Choksi defrauded Indian Panjab National Bank (PNB) with a massive 2 billion dollars; soon after taking the loans, he absconded the country and settled in Antigua and Barbuda. Along with his wife, Priti Choksi, Mehul Choksi took citizenship through investment.
He was the owner of Gitanjali Group, recognized as one of the largest branded jewellery retailers in the world. Choksi is the uncle of Nirav Modi, who, in a similar act, defrauded the same bank and escaped to the United Kingdom, awaiting a verdict on the extradition case.
In May 2021, Mehul Choksi disappeared from Antigua and Barbuda; as per reports, he escaped the country in order to turn around his extradition case to India. He was en – route to Cuba; however, the plan failed in the middle of the path.
Recently, Writeups 24 published a comprehensive piece discussing his escape to Cuba in detail. The article is supported by investigative studies of Kenneth Rijock and many other facts. Their report suggested how the police report on the alleged abduction of Mehul Choksi was influenced and changed to suit the fugitive’s lawyers.
As per the investigations by Kenneth Rijock- a well-recognized American investigator, the duty officer Adonis Henry left many loopholes while preparing the police report.
“Mehul Choksi stated in his official statement that he went to the apartment located in the North Finger area of Jolly Harbour, but at the same time, Cpl Williams, the duty SPO at Johnsons Point Police Station, denied finding any vehicle at the location upon search. However, just a few hours later, Mehul Choksi’s vehicle was discovered outside villa 407 E & F of Jolly Harbour, showing that it was planted later. As per their reports, the alleged abductors had already departed the country, which clearly shows that the vehicle was implanted by his (Mehul Choksi’s) close allies to give a realistic touch to their abduction story.
The facts accessed by Writeups 24 also pointed out that the two tourists, who were in the Caribbean for sailing purposes, left Antigua at 10:30 am on the same day Choksi purportedly went missing. The departure information was confirmed by the Customs and Immigration of Antigua and Barbuda. While Mehul Choksi was still at his house at about 5:00 pm of the same day, as said by the fugitive in his statements as well as per the CCTV recordings. The timings were mismatched, and to surprise, the police failed to question Customs officials in this regard, which signals another loophole in the abduction story.
The two sailors in question reached Dominica 13 hours before Choksi was discovered and arrested from a beach. According to reports, they both disembarked at 10 am, and upon arrival, their boat was thoroughly checked by Customs and Immigrations of Dominica as part of their protocols. On inspection, there were only five people on board the Calliope of Arne ships, including the two tourists and their three-ship crew members. Here again, the Customs officials of Dominica were not interviewed or communicated by Inspector Adonis Henry.
There are several units constituted under the CARICOM that, including the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC), Regional Crime and Security Strategy Coordinating Unit (RCSS-CCU). But the Antigua and Barbuda police did not involve any of the agencies in investigating the involvement of the ship named Calliope of Arne. The forensics of the vessel was also on placed as solid evidence in the report.
Mehul Choksi’s lawyers continued stressing that their client was abducted; however, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, spoke in the national parliament on 22 June 2021. He attested that in consultations with the Police Commissioner, it was discovered that there was no evidence of the kidnapping of Mehul Choksi in Antigua and Barbuda. Notably, later a police report on the alleged abduction was presented to the Dominica Court of Justice to get the case of illegal entry dismissed against Mehul Choksi. Kenneth Rijock’s investigations also revealed that all of this was done in order to halt Choksi’s extradition to India.
Notably, Writeups 24 continued that when Choksi was in Dominica, he stated that about eight individuals from the Royal Police of Antigua and Barbuda grappled and kidnapped him. However, the statement was later changed, and he said that the people who kidnapped him were Indians and not Antiguans. As part of a well-planned plot, the kidnapping was later blamed on tourists who travelled in or through Antigua and Barbuda during that period.
Writeups 24 reported that the investigative officers mentioned a vessel named Joanna Lucas, which could have been used by the diamond merchant to escape; however, no investigations were done in this regard. The statement was given by David Giroux, and the name was revealed by Colin Thomas, who had reported a suspicious vessel before in Saint Lucia. The question remains unanswered on why the investigating officers did not question the yacht owners. Besides this, the location of the vessel was not traced through mobile tower tracking.
Kenneth Rijock said that the abduction was not real; instead, the fictional story was created so that Mehul Choksi could smoothly escape his longstanding extradition to India, where he is wanted in a 2 billion dollar scam. Rijock reported that Choksi hired a vessel to get to Cuba, where he owns a safe house, but during his journey, he failed to make a final payment, as agreed, which resulted in a dispute between his transporters, who later left him at a remote beach in Dominica. Soon after, Choksi realized that his plan had failed badly, and then he created another master plan to evade detention and entrapped travellers to support his story.