Some people are expressing curiosity about the decision of Interpol to withdraw its Red Corner Notice for businessman Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in his native India on fraud-related charges.
The Red Corner Notice – issued for Choksi in 2018 – is not an international arrest warrant; rather, it is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
Sources close to Choksi have indicated that a report compiled by local police officers supports the businessman’s claim of having been unlawfully abducted from a residence in Jolly Harbour and has proven he was the victim of an illegal act.
Further, according to a spokesperson on Choki’s behalf, evidence adduced in ongoing High Court proceedings in Antigua “point[s] to an alarming case of state-orchestrated kidnapping, torture and attempted rendition by the Indian government.”
He adds that “Choksi has presented a compelling case that the Indian government is behind the orchestrated kidnap from Antiguan territory, the torture of Mr. Choksi, and the attempt to render him to India in breach of the international rule of law.”
Interpol’s decision to delete the Red Notice strengthens these concerns, the spokesperson notes.
Choksi claims that he was attacked, beaten, bound and gagged by men with Indian and Antiguan accents in the Jolly Harbour area on Sunday, May 23, 202, and taken to Dominica, where he was subsequently detained for weeks.
However, he was later returned to Antigua after his health began to fail and since the treatment was not available in Dominica.
Two weeks ago, the High Court has ruled that the Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Police have a case to answer for failing to initiate a full investigation into Choksi’s claims of abduction and torture.
Some locals are therefore wondering why the Red Notice was withdrawn at this time – after almost five years of trying to get Choksi back to India – and whether there is a correlation to the order for his case to be investigated.
Choksi was granted CIP citizenship in 2017 and moved to Antigua in January 2018. Charges against him were filed in 2018, when he was accused of defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank of sums amounting to U $2.1 billion.
Since then, he has been fighting his extradition from Antigua and Barbuda, along with attempts to revoke his passport.