The negotiations, German intelligence officers listening in to the call learned, hadn’t been exactly business-like. “He gave me my watch back,” London businessman Hardip ‘Peter’ Virdee said, describing a meeting with Antigua’s energy minister, “and he said to me, ‘Could you buy my mum a car?’ I said, ‘I will think about it.’ Then on my next visit, he said, ‘You promised my mum a car.’ I said, ‘I have no problem in buying you a car, no problem, but I can’t be giving you chunks of the money that you are not entitled to beforehand and give money to the Party and then go and buy you a car.”
As the conversation wore on, Virdee exploded. “What do you mean, ‘I need 2 million?’,” proceedings in the England and Wales High Court show he told the minister. “I said, ‘you can’t just f***ing take 2 million. You can’t just say ‘I need 2 million because I did a lot of gravy’.”
For days now, Indians have been struggling to piece together the bizarre story surrounding fugitive diamond magnate Mehul Choski. The elements of the plot, we know: on the evening of May 23, someone kidnapped Choksi from an apartment where he’d gone to meet a friend, Barbara Jarabica. He was locked in the hold of a St Lucia-registered yacht, the Calliope of Arne, and landed in Dominica on May 25—where the police were waiting to arrest him. Passenger manifests show Gurjit Bhandal, a resident of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and Gurmit Singh, an Indian national.