Mehul Choksi case: Antigua & Barbuda PM Gaston Browne says ‘no conclusive evidence’ diamantaire was abducted

New Delhi: In the Mehul Choksi abduction case, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said that he was not aware of “any conclusive evidence” but there is information in the public domain that the diamantaire was abducted and law enforcement agencies may be having some “persons of interest” after their research.

Gaston Browne made this disclosure while responding to questions of opposition MP in the Antiguan Parliament, according to an ANI report. Browne was reportedly asked if the Scotland Yard or any other investigative body found any evidence that Mehul Choksi was taken to Dominica by “involuntary means”.

According to a clip of Parliamentary proceedings shared by media outlet Antigua News Room, Gaston Browne is quoted as saying, “Mr Speaker, I am not aware of evidence but this information is in the public domain that Mehul Choksi was abducted. And, I am aware that law enforcement here would have done some research and perhaps may have some individuals of interest but as far as evidence is concerned I am not aware that there is any such conclusive evidence.” 

Browne also replied in the negative when asked if the Scotland Yard or any other agency has contacted his government about the alleged abduction of Choksi.

Mehul Choksi, wanted in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case in India, had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen.

The diamantaire was detained in neighbouring island country of Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend.  

Choksi’s lawyers alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua on May 23 by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.

The legal team of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi in London had approached the Metropolitan Police under the “universal jurisdiction” provision to investigate his alleged kidnapping from Antigua and Barbuda to neighbouring Dominica.

His lawyer Michael Polak had reportedly stated that Choksi was removed from Antigua and Barbuda to Dominica where these rights are not available to him. 

In Antigua and Barbuda, Choksi as a citizen enjoys the rights to approach the British Privy Council as last resort in cases on his citizenship and extradition.

(With Agency Inputs) 

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