The allegations of kidnapping made by Indian-born diamond merchant Mehul Choksi are under investigation by Scotland Yard, which is treating the matter as a human-rights crime.
The NATIONAL HERALD is reporting that London’s Metropolitan Police are examining a complaint made on Choksi’ behalf by a British human-rights lawyer, Michael Polak.
Choki has accused four people, believed to be United Kingdom (UK) residents, of abducting and torturing him during a failed attempt to return him to India to answer to fraud charges.
These persons have already been identified as 31-year-old Barbara Jarabik, a Hungarian; 45-year-old Gurdip Bath of St. Kitts and Nevis; 50-year-old Gurjit Singh Bhandal, a British national; and 63-year-old Gurmit Singh, an Indian.
The media report quotes Scotland Yard as saying, “We can confirm that the Met’s War Crimes Unit, part of the Counter Terrorism Command, received a referral on 7 June, 2021 which relates to allegations of torture.”
Confirmation was also given that the referral is being assessed by officers, in accordance with guidelines for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
According to the article, “Even though the crime is said to have been committed in the Caribbean, British authorities are empowered to investigate, arrest and prosecute persons involved by virtue of a Universal Jurisdiction Act.”
The purpose of this legislation is to hold “those who commit the most serious crimes accountable for their actions” and “not provide a safe haven for war criminals or those who commit other serious violations of international law.”
Polak has highlighted in his complaint that Choksi was tortured – which local Antiguans and Barbudans have had confirmed via photos that show the businessman was, in fact, beaten.
The lawyer further claims that Choksi was severely mistreated through the use of electric shocks and threatened with a knife during the boat ride to Dominica.
Polak has also produced documentation to Scotland Yard showing that the four suspects had travelled together, either via plane or boat, to Antigua and to Dominica; and he accuses them of being involved in a “suspected human smuggling ring.”
On May 23, 2021, in a purported attempt to get him back to India, Choksi was abducted from Antigua and taken by boat to Dominica, where he was charged and detained for illegally entering that country.
He was later returned here due to his ill health and the need for medical services that were not available in Dominica; and the charges against him were subsequently dropped, following various confirmations of Choksi’s claims of abduction.
Despite the fact that his claims were supported by an official police investigation, the Antigua and Barbuda authorities have never released the report; nor have they pursued any known prosecution of those identified in the abduction plot.