Antigua: PM Browne breaks his silence on Mehul Choksi

June 02, 2022 in Regional

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has broken his silence on the alleged abduction of Indian businessman Mehul Choksi.

On Tuesday in Parliament, Browne denied being involved in the alleged kidnapping, saying that his government never facilitated Choksi’s disappearance.

“It is true that I would have stated publicly that our preference would have been for him to be repatriated directly to India from Dominica, but that was on the basis that he skipped the island. At that time, we had no information or the slightest speculation that he may have been abducted,” Browne said.

Adding, “there is no way that we would have been involved in any decision or any attempt to have him removed from the state illegally. If indeed the government of India needs our cooperation, then we would not need a third party to get Choksi out of the country,”

The Opposition in Dominica and Antigua have both called on the Browne and Roosevelt Skerrit to come clean about the alleged kidnapping of Choksi who mysteriously disappeared from the twin-island nation on May 23rd, and ended up in Dominica.

Choksi maintained that he was kidnapped by operatives linked to both countries and India. He said he was severely beaten on the way to Dominica by boat.

But Browne further stated that if indeed Choksi had not been a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, his government would have wasted no time to make the Indian fugitive “persona non grata”.

“You can be assured that before law enforcement would have gone for him, there would have been a plane on the tarmac to take him back to India,” he said Choksi was charged for illegal entry into Dominica but that charge was dropped possibly after a 19 paged report from lawmen in Antigua and Barbuda.

And while Choksi vows to continue to pursue his kidnapping claims, Browne said this is a matter for the police and the judicial system, saying “the less said at this point the better”.

All this comes as Browne said he has still not been made privy to the full report on Choksi’s disappearance.

Mehul Choksi is wanted for defrauding banks in a scam amounting to more than US $2.1 billion.