Mehul Choksi’s unlawful rendition from Antigua an attempt to deny him UK legal cover: Lawyer

New Delhi: The legal team of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is currently facing the charges of entering Dominica illegally, has approached the Metropolitan Police in London under the “universal jurisdiction” provision to investigate the alleged kidnapping of the absconding businessman from Antigua and Barbuda to neighbouring Dominica. 

Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Michael Polak said that his client was unlawfully removed from Antigua and Barbuda, adding that as a citizen he enjoys the right to approach the British Privy Council in case of extradition. Polak also added that the English authorities have “universal jurisdiction” to probe such cases. 

Describing Choksi’s case as one of “egregious breach of the rule of law and fundamental fairness”, Polak said, “What has happened to Choksi has been terrible. He was lured into a property, kidnapped, a bag placed over his head, beaten, forced onto a boat and unlawfully renditioned into another country.”

“In Antigua, he has the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London to determine whether the government is acting properly…against him. In Dominica, he does not have such protection. The motive behind the kidnapping could not be clearer,” he said.

A complaint filed by Polak with the UK Metropolitan Police contended that Choksi’s case should be investigated by the War Crimes Unit as it involves “torture”.

“The War Crimes Unit of the Metropolitan Police investigates war crimes, torture and genocide wherever it takes place,” the lawyer said.

Polak also alleged that the group which abducted his client had conducted a dry run in April. Polak said Jabarica, who lured Choksi to her Airbnb accommodation on May 23, had specifically asked the owner if there is a place for docking a small boat in the backyard.

Choksi’s lawyer also presented the chat details between Jabarica and the owner of the properties, claiming that she had discussed taking two adjoining properties after getting confirmation about docking place for boats. 

Mehul Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam. Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica. Choksi’s attorneys claim that their client was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen, who looked like Antiguan and Indian. He was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India. 

(With Agency inputs)

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