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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Mehul Choksi’s complaint: ‘Barbara’, ‘brutal’ abduction, ‘blundered’ plan by ‘India’

Choksi’s complaint, filed through his legal team, also claimed that he knew “Barbara Jabarica” since one year and detailed her role in the “operation” by “Indian agents”.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: June 8, 2021 7:11:37 am
Rights of Mehul Choksi will be respected, courts will decide future course: Dominica PMDominica Prime Minister Rooseveltt Skerrit said the rights of "Indian citizen" Mehul Choksi will be respected and courts will decide on the future course of action. (AP/PTI File Photo)

In a kidnapping complaint lodged with Antigua police on June 2, fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi has claimed “the operation” to send him back to India did not go according to plan and that he was told by the crew of the boat on which he was taken, including two Indian and three Antiguan nationals, that an “Indian politician” would interview him when he arrived in Dominica.

Choksi’s complaint, filed through his legal team, also claimed that he knew “Barbara Jabarica” since one year and detailed her role in the “operation” by “Indian agents”. The mystery woman whom Choksi had gone to meet before he went missing on May 23 night had earlier been identified as “Babara Jarabica”.

Choksi has been in judicial custody in Dominica since May 24, charged with illegally entering the country.

According to Choksi, he was abducted, blindfolded, taken to the rear of Jabarica’s house in Antigua and Barbuda and placed on “a very small watercraft”. According to him, Jabarica was a mute spectator. He was later shifted to a “much larger boat” and his mask removed, he said.

“There appeared to be 2 Indians on board and 3 persons of Caribbean descent. From the way that they had conducted themselves so far, the Indian men, they seemed to be highly experienced mercenaries or contractors, hired specifically for this purpose of detaining and abducting me in such a brutal and unlawful manner,” the complaint said.

He alleged that one of the “Indians” told him they had kept a watch on him for almost a year. “They knew intimate details about my household… where I would walk, my favourite restaurants.”

The other “Indian” man asked questions about his finances and his offshore bank accounts, Choksi said.

According to the jeweller, they reached Dominica around 10 am, after 17 hours of journey. “I was given evasive answers again, but I was told that I had been brought to this special location to give an interview to a high ranking ‘Indian Politician’… that my citizenship would be ‘fixed’ in Dominica and that I would soon be repatriated to India,” Choksi said.

However, he said, the men soon realised that their plan had gone awry. “… This caused much dismay amongst the crew members as they were constantly getting radio calls enquiring as to why my ‘operation’ had not yet been completed. They were getting harried as they were supposed to have handed me over to the ‘authorities’,” Choksi said.

He also accused the crew of taking US $1,500 from him to arrange clearances.”While we were waiting, the cash of 1500 Dollars that had been returned to me… was robbed from me and given to the boatman… effectively rendering me without any source of communication, funds and without telling my family members or legal representatives about my whereabouts.”

He said the men later informed him they would be handing him over to the Police Commissioner of Dominica, with a Coast Guard vessel coming to take him. He said the Indian crew did not board it.

At Dominica, he said, the chief of police told him he was being arrested due to an Interpol Red Notice against him.

Choksi said he was denied medical treatment in lock-up and made to wash own clothes till a lawyer, “Cara Shillingford”, arranged by his Antiguan attorney Justin Simon, found him.

He also claimed a Narinder Singh, alias “Amarinder Singh”, had called him during captivity and identified himself as “the chief agent in charge of my case”. “He began to pressurize me to say that I had cooperated with my captors and… accompanied them of my own free volition… Upon hearing me resist, he threatened… that physical harm would befall upon me and my family if I did not comply. He also said to leave my friendship with Ms Barbara Jabarica out of the picture as it would lead to a public scandal and cause grievous hurt to my wife.”

About Jabarica, Choksi said she earlier lived opposite their residential complex in Jolly Harbour but later shifted to the Coco Bay Hotel. “She was on friendly terms with my staff and we used to meet and interact regularly, often going for walks in the evenings.”

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