Despite local media reports that Barbara Jarabica, the woman at the centre of the Mehul Choksi kidnapping incident, was detained in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), sources close to the victim say they have been unable to confirm that story.
Jarabica is among the persons who, according to Choksi, were participants in his kidnapping, the initial offence reportedly having taken place in her Jolly Harbour villa.
In a statement issued in mid-January, Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney revealed that, through a magistrate, a warrant had been issued, requesting that INTERPOL issue Red Notices to three foreign persons allegedly involved in the incident.
Those Red Notices were approved and issued by INTERPOL, Rodney said then.
Although our Newsroom was unable to confirm, the sources allege that, in the UAE, a Red Notice is valid only for 53 days.
Other insiders tell REAL News that, up to Wednesday of this week, Commissioner Rodney was off island and his whereabouts were not known by other senior officers.
Accordingly, there was speculation that Rodney might have traveled to the UAE in connection with Jarabica’s alleged detention.
Meanwhile, the sources note that the Indian media, along with blogger Kenneth Rijock, have ramped up what they call their “anti-Choksi campaign.”
Rijock was chided by Commissioner Rodney, in the January press statement, for a report on the Choksi matter in which he alleged there had been collusion among the Indian national, the police and the judiciary.
“It is most regrettable that, without offering any proof whatsoever, Rijock has included judges and law-enforcement agencies in allegations of bribery by Choksi …,” Rodney said then.
Notwithstanding that, sections of the Indian press have carried the Rijock report – mainly to deflect from the shortcomings of the Narendra Modi Administration, sources allege.
It is widely believed that the Government of India colluded with the Government of Dominica, where Choksi was taken after his abduction from Antigua (which was confirmed by local police).
In fact, an airplane reportedly dispatched by the Indian authorities was on standby in Dominica, waiting to take the Indian businessman back to face charges in his home country.
Interestingly, according to a February 23 Frontline article, access to the Observer report which claims that Jarabica has been detained has since been denied in India. Our sources claim this plainly indicates that the Modi Administration is not interested in the people learning the truth.
Meanwhile, here in Antigua, the sources say that Choksi, himself, is concerned about the delay – or absence – of police proceedings in the matter closer to home, specifically in St. Lucia, where the yacht that transported him is registered, and St. Kitts, where one of the alleged perpetrators of the kidnapping reportedly is involved in that country’s citizenship by investment (CBI) programme.
Other residents tell REAL News they, too, cannot understand why – with the local police having confirmed all the elements of Choksi ‘s account of his abduction and torture – the matter has not been advanced.
Given that nearly two years have passed, they believe the request for INTERPOL Red Notices was dispatched only recently, and only because the Rijock claims embarrassed the Police and the judiciary.
Accordingly, some persons have concluded that the stalling of the investigation is a deliberate tactic of the Browne Administration, given the earlier declarations by the Prime Minister that he did not want the kidnapped Choksi returned to Antigua and Barbuda where he has constitutional rights.
The businessman has challenged his extradition to India in the High Court; and, as Commissioner Rodney underscored last month, only the court can order said extradition by judicial process.