J-K politician’s son—driving Ukrainian model’s Mercedes—questioned in Bulgaria

Mercedes G400d worth roughly Rs 1.6 crore, belonged to Ukrainian model Anna Durytska

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The son of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (NPP) Supremo Bhim Singh, British-Kashmiri Ankit Love, was questioned by the Bulgarian police for seven hours for driving a car with Ukrainian licence plates, The Print reported on Sunday.

He was stopped near the Bulgarian town of Godech Wednesday.

The report said that the car, a Mercedes G400d worth roughly Rs 1.6 crore, belonged to Ukrainian model Anna Durytska.

“Durytska, who has sought asylum in London after fleeing Ukraine, formerly dated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov who was assassinated in 2015. Love, 38, who was born in New Delhi and then shifted to London as a child due to his family’s political engagements, claims to be a long-time friend of hers,” the report said.

Since Durytska couldn’t leave the UK while finalising her asylum status, Love claims he offered to fly to Bulgaria, where the model had left her car and some of her belongings with a friend, and then drive back to the UK with the Mercedes via the Channel Tunnel that connects Great Britain with the European mainland.

“The tunnel offers a 35-minute car train service known as the ‘Eurotunnel Shuttle’, in which a person can board the train carriage in their vehicle and then stay in it throughout the channel tunnel crossing,” The Print report said.

“While fleeing Ukraine, Anna drove her Mercedes with all her designer clothes and jewellery to Bulgaria where she had a friend living in Sophia Province. She left all of her stuff there and then flew to London to get asylum. But she’s only got one pair of clothes to wear. So, I offered to fly to Bulgaria and then drive her car, with all her belongings, back to the UK,” The Print quoted Love having said.

Anna is currently in London. “I am waiting for my BRP (Biometric Residence Permit). That car is my only asset. It’s really expensive and I am afraid to lose it,” she said.

Now Love plans to fly back to Bulgaria to try and get the car.

Read full ‘The Print’ report:

Go a little deeper, and a whole world opens up. Love, who has often called himself the ‘Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir’ started the One Love Party in London in 2015 and was also a mayoral candidate. On his list of political agendas: Clean air, legalising Cannabis, and even ‘unification of Pakistan and India’.

Love says didn’t take over the reins of his father’s Kashmir party because of his ‘connections with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi’. He is also a British passport holder, but that didn’t stop him from announcing his candidacy for the Prime Minister of India in 2019.

Asked how he and Durytska became friends, Love claims the two met while on holiday five years ago on a ferry going from Ibiza to Barcelona.

He says he was targeted in Bulgaria because of how he looked more than anything. “As I was driving out of Bulgaria in the Mercedes, Bulgarian police stopped me near Godech. They saw the Ukrainian license plates and me, a brown man with a different accent and a British passport,” he says.

He claims the Bulgarian police removed the Ukrainian license plates from the car, and made Love hand over the keys and car registration documents.

Love caught a flight to the UK Thursday night following the incident. He claims he parked the car near the Bulgarian police station where he was questioned, but was able to bring back Durytska’s belongings, which include designer clothes from brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and jewellery worth more than $100,000.

The drive from Sophia Province, Bulgaria to London is approximately 27-hours long. Asked how he was prepared to embark on such a journey, Love said: “I’ve dabbled in Formula 4 racing before so it didn’t seem like such a task.”

Love was born in 1983 in New Delhi and briefly attended a boarding school called Bishop Cotton School in Shimla. His father, Bhim Singh, is the founder and president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party. Singh was known to be a close friend of ousted Iraq President Saddam Hussein and mourned his execution in 2006.

Due to the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, Love was shifted to London in 1989 at the age of five while his parents remained in India. He recalled always being accompanied by a bodyguard and that his mother, Jay Mala, would visit him in London every few months.

As a child, Love attended a private school in Surrey called ACS International School Cobham. There, he rubbed shoulders with the children of other high-profile figures, such as the son of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich—the owner of Chelsea football club.

In 2003, Love attended the California Institute of the Arts to be trained as a performance artist but dropped out after a year because it was “too experimental”.

A year later, he attended Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute in West Hollywood, which has churned out acting legends like Marilyn Monroe, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin and more.

In 2011, he released a single “Beethoven Burst” from his debut album ‘Forever’.

The single was accompanied by a music video set in a futuristic “civilisation nine billion light years away from Earth”. In 2012, Love premiered the short film Whale! and a documentary, Runners, at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2016, after pursuing a career in acting and music, the British-Kashmiri man decided to wade into politics. He ran for London mayor that year under the ‘One Love Party’.

“At the time, I had really suffered financially and commercially, I had done really poorly in some of my projects. So, I was very broke and didn’t have a very big budget for the election,” Love told ThePrint.

A local paper had reported that Love was £10,000 in debt due to the campaign. The One Love Party eventually failed to make a splash, garnering less than 5,000 votes in the mayoral election.

A year after the election, Love took yet another turn in his career by pursuing design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Love is currently working on his music and upcoming music album. His dreams of putting ‘India’s first woman on Mars’, if he became PM, packed up for now.

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