The Dominica police has claimed in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi was found seated in suspicious condition on the bayside near the Jetty at Toucarie Bay around 11.30pm on May 24.
However, the police charged him with “illegal entry” offence around 9pm on May 28, according to details of Dominica’s police affidavits exclusively accessed by HT.
The affidavits filed by Dominica police have several new revelations as well as multiple contradictions. For example, one of the affidavits filed by a Superintendent of Police of Dominica says that after Choksi was found on May 24 and taken to the police station in Roseau, he was given a mattress and clothing at his request, a courtesy usually not extended to other normal prisoners in Dominica.
It, however, doesn’t explain why this courtesy was extended to Choksi by the Dominica police.
A Sergeant of Police deployed with Border Control in Dominica, who found Choksi at Toucarie Bay around 11:30pm on May 24 (a day after he went missing from Antigua), has said in his affidavit that the individual (Choksi) had a shopping bag in his hand. He stated his name as Choksi from Antigua and said that he was brought to Dominica on a boat, according to the Sergeant.
After Choksi could not produce documentation regarding his visit to the country, the cops informed him that he was being arrested on the suspicion of entering Dominica at a place not appointed as an approved point of entry, according to this officer’s affidavit in the court.
However, this officer’s added, even though Choksi was brought to the police station in Roseau on May 25 and a report of ‘illegal entry’ was made the same day, he was formally charged for the offence around 9pm on May 28.
Choksi’s lawyers have argued last week in the ECSC that he was kept under illegal detention for almost 96 hours and was not produced within 72 hours in the court, according to the local law there. The Dominica police has denied these charges in its affidavits.
All the officers of Dominica, in their affidavits, have claimed that Choksi repeatedly said he was abducted and brought to Dominica. However, they have claimed there were no signs that he was kidnapped and they didn’t see any boat.
Interestingly, the Dominica police has claimed that it was on May 27 (Thursday), the department obtained his drivers’ licence which proved he was born in India and his name was Mehul Choksi, according to the details of affidavit filed by the Sergeant.
However, an Inspector of Police of Dominica, in his affidavit, has claimed that identity of Choksi remained a matter of grave concern until May 28 (Friday) as he had no form of identification to ascertain his identity, age, place of residence or place of birth.
At the same time, the Dominica police has stated in its affidavits that attorney-at-law Cara Shillingford (one of the lawyers of Choksi) had contacted them on May 26 to have access to Choksi.
The Dominica police has said they didn’t allow Choksi any legal access as he refused to meet any legal representatives and insisted on going back to Antigua.
The island’s police has further said they spent US$400 to buy new clothes for Choksi on May 26 and he had been provided access to four lawyers by May 27.
It has also claimed that Choksi had refused medical attention after his capture even though he had injuries on his body.
While in custody, Choksi was kept away from all the persons as extreme precaution as identity of kidnappers or his associates was not disclosed by him, the affidavit by Border Patrol officer states.
While the Dominican police’s affidavits do not yet advocate repatriating Choksi back to India, they claim that investigation is being carried out in respect with his escape from India; the manner in which he fled Antigua after proceedings of revocation of his citizenship and extradition were filed there; and his motive behind coming to Dominica.