Mehul Choksi, an Indian fugitive, who has been living in Antigua and Barbuda after committing fraud, had mysteriously disappeared from Jolly Harbour two years ago. Choksi went missing from the island country in the Caribbean region in May 2021, following which various agencies carried out investigation into the matter to uncover the truth behind his alleged abduction.
Investigative authorities of Antigua and Barbuda have been trying a lot to reach a concrete conclusion, but even after probing for two straight years, they failed to do so, which shows that Choksi’s kidnapping was just a narrated story. It is believed that no evidence is proven that the Antiguan and Barbadian authorities are just wasting their time and resources.
Fugitive Diamond Merchant’s Background Story:
After committing fraud of US $2 billion, Mehul Choksi took citizenship of the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda in the year 2018 to escape all the criminal proceedings in India. Later, Choksi claimed that he was forcibly abducted and taken to another Caribbean country, but all his claims and statements turned out to be false when no evidence was found in his support.
The case of the disappearance of Mehul Choksi went through a thorough investigation but failed to find any convincing evidence such as CCTV footage, eyewitness account or any other documentation. No concrete evidence or reason has been presented by the legal team to law enforcement agencies. However, despite getting resembled with narrated story of Mehul Choksi, the investigation evidently shows that Mehul Choksi framed an abduction story to delay the attempts of his extradition.
It is worth noting that the red corner notice issued under the name of Mehul Choksi by the INTERPOL was withdrawn with a testament to the legal manoeuvring in the case. As per the sources, the withdrawal was secured after Choksi claimed himself as a ‘victim’ of human rights violations. He played the victim card to get rid of the red corner notice, which confirms that his alleged abduction story was his attempt to escape his extradition.
After two years of continuous investigation, top government officials, including the Attorney General and Police Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda, have asked to end the probe as it is believed that this investigation is an “unnecessary expenditure of money of taxpayers”. The agency has asked to suspend all the investigations in Choksi’s abduction case.
False Report by Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda
Diamond merchant Mehul Choksi claimed that he was abducted by some tourists from the shores of Antigua and Barbuda, but the report submitted by police outlined the itinerary of the tourists in question. It should be noted that presence in a certain area does not prove that a person is involved in any criminal or illegal activity, especially when there is no clear evidence or connection of any wrongdoing. Reportedly, there is no clear proof that shows that these tourists were involved in the abduction of Choksi’s case.
Many reports have outlined that there are two theories that surround the disappearance of Choksi. The first mention was that the abduction was for ransom, but it was reported that there was no appropriate evidence nor any calls seeking ransom received. Second, it was claimed that he was kidnapped by some people of the Government of India, but here the question is, why was the plane sent to take him back landed six days after his disappearance?
Further, it is revealed that there was no connection between the alleged accused in the kidnapping of the fugitive diamond merchant.
Media participation in influencing Mehul Choksi’s case
Many reports have claimed that Mehul Choksi deployed a team of expensive and fancy lawyers to rescue him from all the allegations. The lawyers, with the media, created a narrative in favour of Choksi’s case, which helped in the manipulation of the public. The expensive and fancy lawyers funded some well-established news channels, newspapers and journalists to spread the news associated with the alleged abduction of Mehul Choksi. It was reported that the lawyers not only manipulated media in Antigua and Barbuda but also in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.
It is publicly believed that to conduct all the dealings, the fugitive diamond merchant has been using the defrauded money – US $2 billion. This made the general public upset as the manipulated news reports made it hard to get justice.
The latest update in the matter includes the arrest of Barbara Jarabik in Dubai, who was one of the key accused in the abduction. The arrest was made after the INTERPOL issued the red corner notice against Jarabik. But the tables turned after UAE Court turned the case down because of a lack of evidence. The dismissal of the case against Jarabik and the withdrawal of the red corner notice by INTERPOL casts more doubt on the abduction story of Mehul Choksi.
The investigation conducted by Kenneth Rijock
A stringent investigation has been conducted by a well-known investigator and financial crime consultant – Kenneth Rijock. He has released a comprehensive report which explained all the aspects of the case of a fugitive diamond merchant from India.
Some statements which contradict the claims of Mehul Choksi:
1) Mehul Choksi changed his remarks on his evening plan on May 23, 2023
2) He changed his statement about the identity of the kidnappers.
3) His statement about Gurjit Bhandal and Gurmit Singh was different from the statement by Bhandal, Singh and a ferry caption. Additionally, the immigration-related were also different.
4) There was no sign of forced entry in Mehul Choksi’s house.
5) Change in the plan from May 24 May 2021, to May 23 May 2021, by Mehul Choksi after Barbara Jarabik changed her plan to depart Antigua from May 24 May 2021 to May 23 May 2021.
The report findings show that Mehul Choksi had known that India will tighten restrictions on him and make him pay for the scam. Similarly, after his nephew, Nirav Modi was arrested in the United Kingdom, Mehul Choksi got nervous fearing his extradition. Following that, the findings show that to escape the Indian authorities, he decided to go to a country that had no extradition treaty with India. The plan was to abscond, without telling anyone and make it appear like a missing case. So, he honey-trapped Barbara Jarabik by gifting jewellery and other attempts to gather her complete information to put missing blame on someone, which is why his family or friend had parked his vehicle near villa 407 E&F in North Finger after 1 day of him reported missing.