Updated: June 5, 2021 8:09:34 am
Even as a court case is under way in Dominica, fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi’s legal team and family is now preparing to petition UK’s Queen Elizabeth to ensure that he is sent back “home” to Antigua.
Choksi’s wife Priti said she will write to the Queen to ensure her husband gets justice.
“An appeal to the Queen is being drafted right now. I am writing to her, as she is the head of the state for Antigua and Barbuda,” Priti told The Indian Express. “I am going to tell her that one of her subjects has been kidnapped and subjected to human rights violations. I will appeal to her to intervene and make sure that my husband is sent home to Antigua.”
Priti alleged that her husband had been kidnapped from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23 in an operation led by Indian agencies. “All of this is already in public domain. Everyone knows what happened,” she said, when asked whether she would reiterate this in her appeal to the Queen.
Antigua and Barbuda is a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth as its reigning monarch and head of the state.
Priti’s assertion comes at a time when Choksi remains in judicial custody in Dominica, with the hearing in his habeas corpus pending in the country’s high court. It also comes amid suggestions that his disappearance from Antigua, and arrest in Dominca, in the last over 10 days had the shadow of an Indian intelligence operation.
New Delhi or the government’s agencies have as yet not confirmed or denied these suggestions.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday confirmed that India was trying to get Choksi back. This came on a day the Antigua Cabinet said that Choksi is now “Dominica’s problem” and expressed its desire for him to be deported back to India.
On May 23, Choksi’s family registered a missing complaint about him with Antigua police. Two days later, on May 25, Dominica announced he had been arrested for illegally entering the country. The next day, Choksi’s legal team filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominican court, alleging that he had been abducted, tortured and taken to Dominica.
Commenting on the latest developments, Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told The Indian Express, “My client is only an accused, not a convict. He has presumption of innocence in his favour. This be blatant violation of his human rights is showing all the countries involved in a poor light.”
Earlier, Aggarwal had suggested that his client had been trapped.
Priti, too, has blamed Indian agencies. According to her, “a woman named Babara, who claimed to be from the renovation industry”, would visit Antigua off and on and meet Choksi. On May 23 evening, she alleged, Babara called Choksi to Jolly Harbour in Antigua and asked him to accompany her to an apartment which she was interested in buying.
“When he entered, people (8-10) came from two sides and beat him up mercilessly,” Priti said. “They tied him to a wheelchair and gagged him with a plastic bag. This entire thing was done to abduct and take him to Dominica. Barbara disappeared from Antigua the next day…”
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