Barbara Jabarica says Mehul Choksi first to approach and befriend her
Fugitive Indian diamantaire Mehul Choksi’s alleged girlfriend Barbara Jabarica on Wednesday said that the businessman was the first to approach and befriend her, contradicting his wife Priti’s previous claim, news agency ANI reported. “Raj (Mehul Choksi) was the one who approached me, asked my number and 'befriended me', totally the opposite of what his wife says,” ANI quoted Barbara Jabarica as saying.
Barbara further alleged that Choksi had introduced himself with a different name (Raj) to her. “I have known him (Mehul Choksi) since last August and met with him in Jolly Harbour when I rented Airbnb accommodation near where he also lives. He introduced himself as Raj. Between August and April, he was always texting me but I replied to him once a month,” she had earlier said in an interview to ANI.
Mehul Choksi, currently in custody in Dominica, went missing from Antigua earlier on May 23 and was eventually caught after the Antigua police launched a manhunt. Police in Dominica had charged Choksi with illegal entry into the country, following his escape from Antigua in his possible attempt to avoid extradition to India.
In his complaint to the police commissioner in Antigua, Choksi had claimed that he was allegedly attacked by eight to ten men when he was on his way to meet Barbara Jabarica, with whom he claimed he has ‘friendly terms,’ according to a news report by ANI.
A week ago on June 2, Priti Choksi had said that Choksi’s rumoured girlfriend was known to him and his other acquaintances. “The woman was known to my husband and to his other acquaintances. She walked with my husband periodically when she was visiting Antigua. From what I have understood from people who have met her, the woman shown on media channels is not the same woman that they knew as Barbara,” she had said following Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne had said that Choksi went on a ‘romantic trip’ to Dominica with his ‘girlfriend’ while he was caught.
The Antigua government had also asked for the direct extradition of Choksi from Dominica to India, where he is accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud case worth ₹13,500.
(With inputs from ANI)