Splainer

Monday, May 31 2021


Dive In

I urinated without realizing I was on camera. I am deeply embarrassed by my actions and the distress they may have caused anybody who witnessed them. While accidental and not visible to the public, this was completely unacceptable, and I apologize unreservedly. I will be stepping aside temporarily from my role as Parliamentary Secretary and from my committee duties so that I can seek assistance.

That’s Candian MP William Amos issuing a heartfelt apology after he was caught peeing into a coffee cup during a virtual House of Commons meeting. What makes it even more astonishing: This is after he was caught totally naked on a similar Zoom call—after which he claimed: "My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog.” Happily, there is no viral footage of the peeing incident.

Big Story

The merry chase after Mehul Choksi

The TLDR: While his nephew and partner-in-scams Nirav Modi rots in a UK jail, Uncle Choksi has sparked a full-on international drama over his extradition to India. Dominica wants to send him to Antigua—which doesn’t want him back. But the Indians really, really do. Meanwhile, Choksi is using every trick in the book—including hopping countries and passports and spinning lurid tales of kidnapping—to stay far away from home. 

 

Tell me about the drama first!

Ok, let’s work backwards from where we are now. 

 

The great escape: The former jewellery king fled to Antigua in January 2018—just weeks before he was named as a suspect in a massive bank fraud (which we will get to). He had already secured his Antiguan citizenship in November 2017—just weeks before the Central Bureau of Investigation started investigating the scam. And there he has remained—leading a quiet if somewhat shady life. Point to note: As long as he is an Antiguan citizen, he can’t be extradited to India. 

 

The attempted extradition: The Antiguan government has been doing its best to get rid of Choksi. Last year, local authorities issued a show cause notice signalling that they plan to revoke his citizenship—a move he is currently fighting in court. The Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne made clear:

 

“His citizenship was processed; he got through but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It's not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes.”

 

The great abduction? A week ago, Choksi went out for dinner but then disappeared—and resurfaced days later in the neighbouring Caribbean island of Dominica, where he was arrested for illegal entry. He claims to have been abducted:

 

“Choksi’s counsel in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, claimed that the businessman told him he was abducted by ‘an Indian and Antiguan’ police officer on May 23 while visiting a restaurant for dinner. Choksi claimed that the abductors masked him and put him on a yacht that had a Dominican flag. He was taken to the southern tip of Dominica where he was kept till he was arrested by the local police on May 26.”

 

Point to note: In the first photo taken since his arrest, Choksi has a big, fat shiner—which his lawyer is offering as proof of his kidnapping: “I noticed that he was severely beaten, his eyes were swollen and had several burnt marks on his body.” See the photo below:

 

Why this matters: If Choksi broke the law while fleeing Antigua, it offers a strong reason to strip his citizenship. Antiguan PM Browne isn’t buying the story, and told reporters that Choksi took his girlfriend to Dominica “to have dinner or have a good time... and got caught.”

 

Who wants Mehul-bhai? Dominica says it will send Choksi back to Antigua after checking on his citizenship status. Antigua wants Dominica to send him directly back to India. The Indian government is just fine with that. Meanwhile, Choksi’s lawyers have filed a habeas corpus petition to ensure he is produced in a Dominican court—which will hear the petition on Wednesday. Meanwhile, New Delhi has sent a private jet with court documents to establish his guilt, and perhaps to escort him back?

 

Whoa, who is this guy??

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Netanyahu is out!
  • China censors ‘Friends’ reunion
  • Boris Johnson is a married man!
  • Hot tub soaking = running?

 

Smart & Curious

  • A hilarious blog post on the ‘endangered male novelist’
  • An excellent list of the seven new wonders of the world
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