New Delhi: Gurjit Bhandal, one of the persons reportedly named in the "abduction" of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is held in Dominica after his mysterious disappearance from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23, has denied any link to the case.
In his complaint to the Antigua police, Mehul Choksi has named Gurmit Singh Bhandal, Narendar Singh, Jabarica and other unidentified persons for his alleged abduction.
However, according to local media reports, Gurjit Bhandal has denied any link to the Choksi case and claimed that he had left the Caribbean island on May 23 morning on a yacht.
As per a PTI report, Bhandal, who is into property business in Midlands, United Kingdom, has claimed that he had gone sailing in the Caribbeans with his friend Gurmit Singh in April-May. Denying any association with the alleged abduction of Choksi, Bhandal, an Indian-origin person, said he would "co-operate and help the police" in the investigation, but the Antigua police have not approached him so far.
The report also revealed that Bhandal and Singh were at English Harbour in Antigua and after clearing immigration late morning, they left for Dominica. Bhandal claimed that he reached Dominica at night but cleared the customs the next day.
"We reached Dominica on May 23, Sunday night. On the same day, we started from Antigua and cleared the customs the next day on May 24," Bhandal was quoted as saying.
In his complaint, Choksi has alleged that he was abducted from Antigua on May 23 evening and taken on a yacht, adding that the yacht later took him to the waters of Dominica the next morning, where he was handed over to the Coast Guard of Dominica on a boat.
The report also quoted Bhandal as saying that he and his friends had a plan to go to St Lucia from Dominica but Bhandal, who claimed to be a regular sailing aficionado, said he got "seasick" en route and dropped any further sailing plan after reaching Dominica.
Bhandal also added that he and Singh "often go sailing together" in the Mediterranean Sea, but this time, they decided to do it in the Caribbeans. "We took a charter from there (Dominica) to Barbados," Bhandal said.
As per the report, when he was asked about Mehul Choksi’s friend Barbara Jabarica, Bhandal said he does not know Jabarica but keeps meeting hundreds of people while taking flights in the Caribbeans.
"There were 21 flights to the Caribbeans, but during Covid, there are only two flights in a week now, so this increases the possibility that we bump into the same people again and again," he said.
Bhandal, according to the report, also said that he has been sailng with his friend Singh in the area since April and had stayed in Antigua for four days, Dominica for one and St Lucia for four days.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi is wanted in a Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case in India and had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying as a citizen since 2018.
He was detained in the neighbouring island country of Dominica for illegal entry, after a possible romantic escapade with his rumored girlfriend.
Choksi's lawyers alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian, and brought to Dominica on a boat.
(With PTI inputs)