Court rules Choksi’s case calling for investigation into kidnapping can continue

Editorial Staff

Apr 6, 2023

Choksi went missing on May 23, 2021, from Antigua and was found in Dominica the next day.

On Monday, the Antiguan court denied an application by Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin and the Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney, to strike out a claim by Indian businessman Choksi, alleging a constitutional violation “arising out of a failure to adequately investigate his claims of being a victim of inhuman treatment and torture”.

Antigua and Barbuda contend that there was no specific breach of the Constitution.

But that argument was denied by High Court Judge Justice Marissa Robertson who ruled that Antigua and Barbuda have a case to answer.

Choksi claimed that in May of 2021, he was kidnapped from Antigua and Barbuda, tortured, choked, and beaten in the process. He said operatives working for the Indian government were behind the illegal move.

Justice Robertson saidThe Claimant, having issued a claim, is entitled to have a resolution as to what is an appropriate response; whether the investigation was an “effective” investigation; whether an effective investigation includes extra-territorial investigations and whether other reliefs are available to the Claimant.”

“The question as to whether the investigation has been effective cannot be answered before the full facts are ventilated. As it stands certain reports have not been made available and those reports may influence the direction of the investigation and address whether other steps are or were required and therefore information on the effectiveness of the investigation. The Claimant also notes that no recent steps have been taken by the Defendants.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Choksi said the Indian businessman is pleased that the Attorney General’s attempt to prevent the courts from considering his claim seeking a full investigation of his kidnapping has been rejected.

“After being kidnapped in May 2021, Antigua has continuously attempted to delay any efforts to hold those responsible accountable despite the clear findings of the initial police investigation. This is another step towards those responsible for the kidnapping of Choksi being brought to justice,” the spokesperson said

Last week a Red Corner Notice against Choksi was withdrawn and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has appealed to the Commission for Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) to restore it.

A Red Notice, according to Interpol, is “a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action”.

In a statement on March 21, the agency said, “Based on new information and serious errors in the decision, CBI is taking steps for the decision of CCF to be revised.”

India had several efforts to bring Choksi back to the country to answer charges while he was arrested in Dominica.


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