Commissioner of Police, Mr Atlee Rodney is categorically denying all claims of any misconduct on the part of a senior police officer surrounding the ongoing investigations involving Indian national Mehul Choksi.
The commissioner’s statement comes as Mr Kenneth Rijock, an internet blogger in an online news article written in The Economic Time of India on 13 January 2023, made certain allegations against a senior member of the police force and a magistrate.
Commissioner Rodney said, “It is most unfortunate that Mr Kenneth Rijock, on his internet blog, made several false statements, concerning the Antigua and Barbuda Police Force in relation to Mr Mehul Choksi without ascertaining the facts”. “The entire blog is false with inadequate or no research of the facts and has a malicious purpose and ought not to have been posted.” The Commissioner made it clear that the Police Force has no interest in assisting Mr Choksi in avoiding extradition from Antigua and Barbuda as alleged by Mr Rijock, and, in any event, has no power to do so.
Commissioner Rodney explained that upon the issuing of a Red Notice by INTERPOL, stating that Mr Choksi is wanted by the law enforcement authorities in India, and a request to the Attorney-General for his extradition, an extradition order was issued in accordance with a Commonwealth Treaty, governing extradition of wanted persons.
Subsequently, Mr Choksi challenged his extradition in the Courts, and he has delayed extradition by that process. Antigua and Barbuda is a democratic nation in which the rule of law prevails. Under the Constitution of the country, Mr Choksi has the right to seek a hearing by the Court, and only the Court can order his extradition by judicial process. His matter is still before the Courts, because of his legal interventions.In the article, Mr Rijock states that Inspector Adonis Henry and Mr Choksi, “have been meeting at the Al Porto Restaurant at Jolly Harbour, alleging bribery”. However, only two engagements have been held between Mr Choksi and Inspector Adonis Henry. Both engagements occurred around August 2021 and June 2022 during an investigation, where Mr Choksi alleged he was kidnapped from Antigua and transported against his will to Dominica. Besides, the two interviews were not conducted at the Al Porto Restaurant in Jolly Harbour as Mr Rijock claims, but at Mr Choksi’s office, upstairs in the same building of the Restaurant in the presence of his attorney.Mr Rijock went further to claim Magistrate ‘conspired’ with Inspector Henry to interfere with INTERPOL’s efforts to detain Mr Choksi for extradition to India. However, the only connection between Inspector Henry and Magistrate in this matter was to secure a warrant, requesting INTERPOL to issue a Red Notice for three foreign persons, who, Mr Choksi claims were participants in his alleged kidnapping. Those Red Notices were approved and issued by INTERPOL.
The Commissioner said, “It is most regrettable that without offering any proof whatsoever, Mr Rijock has included judges and law enforcement agencies in allegations of bribery by Mr Choksi, obviously to delay his extradition to India.”