Body found in sea is millionaire who went missing with family

By Athalie Matthews
Wednesday 11 December 2013 05:57

The body of a millionaire businessman who had been missing along with his family for three months has been found in the sea off the Dorset coast, police said.

Amarjit Chohan from Hounslow, west London, whose business, CIBA Freight, had an annual turnover of £4.5m, was found by a canoeist near Bournemouth Pier on 22 April but was not identified until yesterday, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

A post mortem examination has not revealed the cause of death, the spokesman added, but further examinations will be conducted "in due course".

The spokesman said: "We have to keep an open mind on what might have happened to the family but naturally we're growing more concerned as each day passes. We hope that we may be able to establish a formal cause of death and that would move on the inquiry."

Mr Chohan was last seen on 16 February in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Police are still investigating the disappearances of his wife Nancy, their two sons three-month-old Ravinder and 18-month-old Devinder, and Mr Chohan's mother, Charanjit Kaur, who had been visiting from India.

Detectives have so far failed to work out why the family disappeared from their house since, although their passports are missing, they had not packed many belongings and no money has been taken from their bank accounts.

A typed letter sent from Calais on 20 March to CIBA, and purportedly signed by Mr Chohan, said that he was tired of life in England, adding that the family was in France and planned to go to India. Other letters also apparently signed by the dead businessman and sent to his company are being examined by police as well.

Detectives said Mr Chohan, whose passport was being held by the Home Office, signed a power of attorney handing over control of CIBA to two of his employees in the week he disappeared.

The family car was involved in an accident with another car in Curdridge, near Southampton on 21 February, a week after the family was last seen, but the two men in the other car gave false details and have not been traced.

The family's disappearance came to light when Mrs Chohan's brother, Onker Verma, who lives in New Zealand, raised the alarm. He became concerned after daily phone calls from his sister suddenly stopped after February 15 when they last spoke.

Mr Verma, who came to England on 5 March and is being comforted by friends and family, contacted Scotland Yard on February 19. After flying to England, he found the family home empty, laundered clothes left in the washing machine and tumble-dryer, and the children's favourite toys, including a treasured Thomas the Tank Engine model, strewn around the house along with baby feeding bottles. Clothes and suitcases were in the wardrobes.

He said: "There was no sign of a struggle – it just looked like they had left in a rush. One thing is sure, that the family has left their home at very short notice.

"I can't work out what has happened, the way they have disappeared is so strange and out of character. There is no explanation why they have just vanished."

The timing of the disappearance was particularly perplexing because the Chohan family and Mr Chohan's mother had vanished five days before Mr Verma was due to visit them in London with his wife and two children, he said.

Detectives searching for Mr Chohan's family – whose concern is heightened because of the age of Mr Chohan's sons – are investigating leads and theories including a suggestion that Mr Chohan and his family have fallen foul of a criminal gang or are on the run because of financial problems.

No one from CIBA Freight was available for comment.

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