Fugitive Millionaire Claims He was Kidnapped and Tortured in the Caribbean

An on-the-run millionaire diamond magnate was kidnapped and tortured on a Caribbean island, his lawyer has claimed in correspondence with Newsweek.

The legal team representing millionaire Mehul Choksi, 62, claims he was abducted and tortured in Antigua by a London-based group with the aim of extraditing him to India, where he is wanted over his alleged part in a $1.8 billion bank fraud case.

Lawyer Michael Polak, of the legal group Justice Abroad, said his client had been lured to a house in Antigua on May 23 by a London property agency consultant, where he was set upon by a group of up to 10 men and, soon after, had his arms and legs bound before he was forced onto a boat.

Last week Polak sent a copy of Choksi's statement to Newsweek, in which the magnate claimed he had been tortured and kidnapped.

In the statement, given to his lawyer earlier in June, Choksi said: "They put me then on the wheelchair. And whenever I was fighting, they would shock me with a taser. So they were shocking me here and there. So I would just stop it.

"And I almost surrendered kind of thing to them that I won't fight because they were going to hurt me from everywhere. They put this electric shocker on my hands, my face and everything. It was really painful, in my mouth and everything."

The statement continued: "So it was very painful. My jaws were nearly coming out. And then I sat quietly and let them do what they wish because otherwise they would, they would literally kill me. But then they put me in the wheelchair.

"They tied me from behind my legs and my body, my hands, everything. And they put a gag, very big plastic gag in my face. So I couldn't, it was like breathless completely at one point of time I was thinking that I was losing my breathing totally."

Continuing his statement, Choksi said the men, who he claimed had Indian and Antiguan accents, then covered his head with a bag or sheet, so that he could not see anything, and took him onto a small boat while he was still in the wheelchair.

He claimed to have later been moved onto a larger boat and was not told where they were going. Choksi also claimed some of the men had a knife with them and that he would be killed if he struggled.

Choksi's lawyers said he arrived in Dominica on May 24 and said the magnate was told he would be interrogated on the island.

According to Choksi's lawyers, the chief of police of Dominica told him he was wanted in India and that he would be extradited from there.

Polak said in the statement sent to Newsweek that Choksi was held in a 20-square-foot cell, and had nothing inside, including no mattress for him to rest. His lawyers added Choksi is currently being held at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.

Choksi obtained Antiguan citizenship in November 2017, before he was wanted by Indian authorities. In July 2018, the millionaire renounced his Indian citizenship.

In October 2019, Antiguan authorities proposed to remove Choksi's citizenship, although this was challenged by the magnate in January 2020.

In a summary statement sent to Newsweek last week, Polak said: "What has happened to Mr. Choksi is absolutely shocking. The fact that he has been taken from Antigua, a state where he can appeal to the Privy Council against any attempt to deny him of his citizenship or to send him to India, to Dominica, a place where he cannot, shows that the intention of those acting against him was to diminish the legal protection that he enjoyed."

He added: "India is desperate to take Mr. Choksi and the evidence points towards his kidnap and torture and rendition to Dominica being arranged by them with the involvement of the Dominica authorities. This is a shocking attack on the rule of law, and it is embarrassing that this is happening within the Commonwealth."

In an additional comment sent to Newsweek on Monday, Polak added: "This is a sophisticated kidnapping plot carried out by a London-based group which had the aim of circumventing due process by removing Mr. Choksi forcefully from Antigua, where he had ongoing cases and whisking him away to India via Dominica.

"The nature of this conspiracy and the fact that the intended result has been sought by the government of the states concerned means that there are serious questions to be answered by Antigua, Dominica and India."

Newsweek has contacted the governments of India, Antigua and Barbuda and the Commonwealth of Dominica for comment.

Choksi is wanted by Indian authorities
Mehul Choksi attends Lakme Fashion week Party on October 12, 2007 in Mumbai, India. Choksi is wanted by Indian authorities over his alleged part in a $1.8 billion bank fraud case. Getty/Prodip Guha