How did Choksi leave Antigua? Ship papers deepen the mystery


The mystery surrounding the exit of fugitive Indian businessman Mehul Choksi, wanted here in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore GNP credit fraud scam, from Antigua to Dominica deepened as that two sets of documents from ships registered in Saint Lucia suggest different passenger manifests.

The passenger manifesto of the Lady Anne ship lists the names of four crew and passengers, including Captain Egbert Joyeux and Eugene Davidson, both nationals of Saint Lucia, and UK nationals Gurjit Bhandal and Gurmit Singh, both based in Birmingham,

Customs clearance documents at Portsmouth, Dominica, from another St. Lucia-registered vessel, Calliope of Arne, identify Gurjit Bhandal (date of birth: 19.01.1971) as a British citizen and Gurmit Singh (date of birth: 20.02.1958) as an Indian citizen. Singh’s date of birth as mentioned in customs documents is closer to Choksi’s age which is 62 years old.

Dominica Portsmouth’s customs documents list their port of embarkation as Antigua. The document is part of the Dominican police indictment against Choksi for illegal entry, sources said.

However, it is not clear whether Choksi took the name Gurmit Singh for illegally entering Dominica or whether he (Gurmit) was an Indian agent who forced him into the island nation, as claimed by the lawyers for the fugitive businessman.

Bhandal and Singh disembarked at Portsmouth, according to Commonwealth of Dominica customs and excise documents.

The two passenger manifests do not specifically name Choksi as a passenger, further complicating his exit from Antigua and his entry into Dominica. Gurmit Singh appearing as a British citizen and passenger in The Lady of Anne and the same person mentioned as an Indian citizen in Calliope of Arne further compounded the mystery of Choksi’s exit from Antigua and the alleged illegal entry into Dominica.

India does not have an extradition treaty with Dominica. Choksi can still be deported if the authorities so decide.

India has an extradition treaty with Antigua, of which Choksi acquired nationality in 2017. He has been staying in Antigua since January 2018 after his flight from Mumbai when the PNB scam surfaced.

Sources following developments there said Choksi left Antigua on May 23 and reached Dominica on May 25, covering just 100 nautical miles. Choksi made a one-day layover between those three days where he was served three times by a confidant identified by his first name Vivek, they said.


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