A special envoy to Britain ‘plotted’ the kidnap of a diamond tycoon in the Caribbean at the behest of the Indian state.
Gurdip Bath, who has been pictured with King Charles, allegedly hatched the extraordinary plan on British soil.
India-born Mr Bath, who lives in an £8 million Mayfair mansion near the Ritz, is accused of flying with a gang from London to Antigua to abduct Mehul Choksi as part of a honeytrap on Delhi’s orders, according to a court claim in Antigua and Barbuda.
Mr Bath – who has citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis and has acted as its commercial attaché to the UK for 11 years – strongly denies involvement.
He and his alleged associates are accused of deploying glamorous London-based property consultant Barbara Jarabik to lure Mr Choksi to an apartment near his home in Antigua. There, he was pounced on by thugs claiming to be police, according to the court claim filed by Mr Choski.
The jewellery dealer, 64, says he was beaten, tasered, bound to a wheelchair and loaded on to a yacht bound for Dominica.
Gurdip Bath (pictured, left), who has been pictured with King Charles (pictured, right), allegedly hatched the extraordinary plan on British soil
Diamond tycoon Mehul Choksi says he was taken against his will from London to Antigua
He says he suffered serious injuries at the hands of the group of thugs that allegedly kidnapped him
The group allegedly hired property consultant Barbara Jarabik to lure Mr Choksi to an apartment near his home in Antigua
He claims an Indian delegation flew in to deport him to his homeland where he is wanted over a supposed £1 billion banking fraud.
But whistleblowers alerted his lawyers who found him battered and bruised in a cell before they secured his release.
Mr Choksi is suing Antigua’s attorney general and police chief for not properly investigating his abduction and bringing his assailants to justice after he suffered ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court refused attempts by Antigua to dismiss the claim and found Mr Choksi had an ‘arguable’ case in May.
The authorities finally filed a defence last week detailing steps taken since the kidnap and calling for the claim to be dismissed. A trial date is yet to be set.
Now Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is being called on to investigate Mr Bath, 47, along with his co-accused over alleged conspiracy to kidnap in the UK.
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is being called on to investigate Mr Bath, 47, along with his co-accused over alleged conspiracy to kidnap in the UK
This is the first time Delhi has been accused of planning an extrajudicial abduction from the UK.
It comes after India was accused of masterminding the assassination of a Canadian Sikh leader, in Canada, in September. Delhi denies both allegations.
Michael Polak, of Justice Abroad, told the Mail: ‘The NCA must investigate and prosecute all the individuals named in proceedings. To fail to do so would allow Britain to be a haven for those accused of international criminal activity, encouraging state-sponsored kidnapping and murder.’
Mr Choksi fled to the Caribbean and gained Antiguan citizenship after falling foul of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who called for his extradition in 2018.
Mr Bath holds great sway in the region as a St Kitts diplomat with alleged links to the premiers of Antigua and India.
He has claimed credit for securing Covid vaccines for the Caribbean from Delhi and met then-Prince Charles in 2014 at a Commonwealth event.
But Mr Choksi’s legal team have obtained flight manifests, CCTV, witness accounts and other records they say prove Mr Bath and his accomplices committed the kidnapping after plotting together in the UK.
Court papers compiled by Edward Fitzgerald KC show records of Ms Jarabik, originally from Hungary, flying to Antigua in the week of Mr Choksi’s abduction in May 2021.
Mr Bath allegedly joined her after he touched down days later with co-accused Gurjit Singh Bhandal and Gurmit Singh – Indian friends who live in West Bromwich.
Documents show Mr Singh and Mr Singh Bhandal then boarded the Calliope of Arne yacht.
Mr Choksi claims Ms Jarabik invited him to her apartment on May 23 where he was ambushed and bundled on to the boat, tied into a wheelchair.
On board, the men allegedly stated they were ‘agents’ of India’s Research and Analysis Wing, Delhi’s MI6, and threatened him at knifepoint.
They sailed to Dominica where Mr Choksi was charged with illegal entry. Dominica then pushed for his deportation to India until lawyers won his release back to Antigua on June 12.
Interpol has said it was a ‘credible possibility’ that his abduction ‘had the ultimate purpose of deporting the applicant to India’.
None of the individuals accused by Mr Choksi is a party to his case against the Antiguan authorities, so cannot file a formal response defending themselves.
However, they have all strenuously denied the claims. Mr Bath told Indian media he had ‘not played any role in the activities related to Mehul Choksi and in particular his kidnap’. He said he has ‘no association with any Indian government-owned intelligence service’.
Ms Jarabik denied involvement and said Mr Choksi was obsessed with her. She said she was with him but left several hours before the alleged kidnap.
Mr Singh said his presence in the region was ‘purely coincidental’ and branded the allegations as ‘baseless and fake’.
He said he was willing to assist the NCA and Antiguan authorities.
Mr Singh Bhandal said he had been on a sailing trip and had never heard of Mr Choksi before being accused, nor had they met Ms Jarabik.