A day after fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi alleged that his "friend" Barbara Jabarica was instrumental in his abduction, Jabarica in an interview with India Today said Choksi "flirted" with her and gave her a fake diamond ring and bracelet. She accepted that she's a friend of Choksi, but said he lied about him to her. She said Choksi introduced himself as "Raj" when he approached her last year.
She said Choksi soon became "friendly" and "started flirting". He "gifted me diamond rings and bracelets" but they turned out to be fake, she claimed. She also said that she does not have anything to do with the "kidnapping" of Choksi and that her name is "dragged by Choksi's lawyers and family". She also added that she and her family are under "stress" due to the recent episode involving her.
As per Barbara, initially Choksi was friendly that changed later. "He started to like me and in April he gave me a diamond bracelet and told me he likes me a lot that I was his soul mate," she said, reported India Today.
She said she recently discovered the diamond gifted by Choksi was a "very good fake diamond". By May, they both agreed to do business together and Choksi asked her to settle in the Caribbean island. She also claimed that Choksi later became "obsessive". "We had a bit of argument when he tried to kiss me at his office" she said.
Screen shots of WhatsApp chats shared by Barbara shows Choksi asking her to come back to Antigua. "Pls pls comeback. For me, you are the most fun to have on this beautiful island," the message sent on April 21 reads. According to Barbara, the charges of abduction may have come from Choksi family and lawyers and Choksi himself as she never met the family members. "If I had to do an abduction, why would I use my name," she said.
The police have started a probe after Choksi filed a complaint that he was abducted. In his complaint to the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, Choksi had named Jabarica, Narinder Singh and Gurmit Singh besides other unidentified people as accused.
He had alleged that Jabarica who developed "friendly terms with him" over the past year was an "integral part" of his abduction purportedly orchestrated by muscle men claiming to be Antiguan Police and mercenaries looking like Indians.
Choksi, who is wanted in India for his involvement in the Rs 13,500 crore banking scam, is currently undergoing treatment under detention at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital, Roseau. He was held for illegal entry in the neighbouring island country of Dominica. But, when probed, he claimed he was invited by Jabarica to her home at Marina in Antigua on May 23 at around 5 pm.
He said she used to reside opposite his residential complex in Jolly Harbour, before moving to Coco Bay Hotel, and had developed friendly terms with his staff and even accompanied him on walks regularly. "On May 23, 2021, she requested that we deviate from our normal schedule of meeting in a public place directly, and asked me to pick her up at her house, which is located on the road next to the Marina, numbered as 407," he said.
Choksi alleged that when he went to her house, she asked him to wait inside as she would finish her wine before going out. While he was waiting, 8-10 muscle men claiming to be Antiguan Policemen barged in and beat him, took his wallet, Rolex watch, mobile phone, and tased him before handcuffing, gagging and blindfolding him, the businessman claimed.
Choksi said they told him that if tried to resist, he would be booked for "obstruction of justice". He alleged that they bundled him on a wheelchair in a comatose state and took him through the backside of Jabarica's residence on small watercraft. "How Jabarica conducted herself, including by not helping me get free from the said persons and her subsequent lack of initiative in contacting the police points to the fact that she was an integral part of this entire scheme to kidnap me," Choksi alleged.
Choksi had fled from Antigua and Barbuda and was captured in neighbouring Dominica following an Interpol Yellow Notice issued against him on May 25. The Indian government is trying to extradite Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, back to India in the PNB scam case.
With PTI inputs