When will Akshay Kumar make another film on Indian Special Forces ?
The 13-seater plane flown to Dominica has returned without Mehul Choksi. But the alleged exploits of Indian Special forces on international shores call for a film by Akshay Kumar
In November 2015, Mehul Choksi was an invited guest at the Indian Prime Minister’s residence, attending a function to unveil schemes to ‘dampen physical demand for gold’. “Our Mehul Bhai is here... he would know…,” the Prime Minister is heard saying in the video clip put up by an online portal.
This week Choksi (62) found himself in a prison in Dominica waiting to be deported to India after being allegedly ‘abducted’ from Antigua, an island nation in the Caribbean 13,700 kilometres away from India. London, is 6,600 kms away.
Choksi had secured citizenship in Antigua (Population 93,000) in 2017 and in January 2018 left India, weeks before the Rs 13,000 crore PNB fraud hit the headlines. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who had accompanied PM Modi to Davos, were the main accused. In December 2018, Interpol issued red corner notices against both. Nirav Modi is now in a British prison awaiting extradition to India while extradition proceedings against Choksi were going on in Antigua.
But Choksi and his lawyers alleged this week that he was abducted by Indian agents, blindfolded, strapped on a wheel chair and taken on a boat to Dominica. None of the surveillance cameras at the Jolly Harbour, from where he was whisked away, were apparently working, alleged his Belgium based daughter to journalist Ashis C Ray in London.
In a statement smuggled out of the Dominican prison Choksi claimed he was on May 23 invited by Barbara Jabarica, a property consultant who had befriended him. But on arrival at her home he was grabbed by 8 to 10 people, two of them Indians who used taser guns to keep him quiet. Someone claiming to be an Indian official asked him to tell the Dominican court that he had voluntarily left Antigua. In Dominica, he was arrested for arriving without his passport. The ease with which Indian media secured access to photographs of the lady, described as Choksi’s girlfriend, also support his family’s claim that it was an Indian operation. Photographs of the woman in swimwear were splashed on TV channels and in newspapers in Gujarat, Mumbai and in the South.
This is not the first time Indian agencies have been accused of abducting foreign nationals. In a factfinding ruling, the family division of the high court in England and Wales confirmed that Princess Sheikha Latifa, daughter of the Emir of Dubai, was abducted by Indian Coast Guard from a boat 30 miles off Goa in international waters. The father of the princess, the Emir of Dubai, did not contest the claim but told the court in a statement that it was a rescue mission.
The court recorded that the boat in which the princess was fleeing from her father to seek asylum was boarded “by a substantial number of Indian special forces” on March 4, 2018. “Smoke grenades or gas, together with gunshots soon led to the crew and passengers being subdued. After TJ had been dragged to the deck with her hands tied behind her back, she saw Latifa lying face down on the floor with her hands similarly bound. TJ says that the Indian servicemen kept shouting ‘who is Latifa’ over and over again.”
In return, Dubai is said to have agreed to hand over British businessman Christian Michel to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), held without trial for the past 30 months in Tihar.
Why the desperation to bring back Choksi using extra legal measures? While the operations bear the stamp of the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, his mission to bring back another fugitive, Dawood Ibrahim, is yet to succeed. The joke is that it could be timed just before the next general election.