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Bollywood actress Preity Zinta reportedly lodged a complaint with Mumbai police Friday against Ness Wadia, her former boyfriend and scion of one of India’s leading business families. While the duo ended their relationship some time ago, they are still business partners as co-owners of cricket team Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.
Major Indian news outlets carried reports of a six-page complaint in which Zinta, 39, alleged that Wadia, 44, had molested, abused and threatened her at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium during an IPL match on May 30. This year’s IPL season concluded on June 1 with Zinta’s team making it to the finals where it lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders owned by top star Shah Rukh Khan.
“Although we are co-owners of Kings XI Punjab, we only talk for professional reasons,” Zinta reportedly said in her statement explaining that she had known Wadia for a decade and was also in a relationship with him. “We have not been talking to each other for awhile. In between, once or twice, we had a few heated arguments regarding work and he tried to abuse me, he also used extremely derogatory language and tried to behave in such a manner where I was put to shame in front of my colleagues, friends and family.”
She added: “I warned him and told him that I was not comfortable with such behavior.”
The son of top businessman Nusli Wadia and his wife Maureen, Ness is the scion of the Wadia group which has diversified businesses including textiles, real estate and aviation. Ness Wadia’s maternal great grand-father is the late Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Citing an incident during the IPL player auctions held some months ago in Bangalore, Zinta said Wadia asked her to sit beside him and when she didn’t comply, he turned “rude and angry” and used “derogatory language.” Fighting with her in public, Zinta alleged that Wadia said, “Who the hell do you think you are? I am the owner of the Wadia group and you are nobody.”
Explaining the May 30th incident when their team was playing a match, Zinta said, “For no reason he started abusing and screaming at me, grabbed my arm and tried to pull me … He came up to me and used foul language in front of everyone which was demeaning to my reputation and character.”
Zinta added that he also intimidated her by stating that “he could make me disappear as I was a nobody.” She also said the incident left her “shattered and in fear for my life” and that Wadia’s “constant” abusing and intimidation has caused her “a lot of mental and physical distress” and made her “feel unsafe and ashamed as a woman.”
Zinta said in her police statement that she had immediately lodged a verbal complaint against Wadia with officials of IPL organizers and the game’s governing body, Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). Mumbai police are expected to question IPL officials and other possible witnesses to investigate the case.
“I am shocked and dismayed. The allegations are totally false and baseless,” Wadia was quoted saying by a leading newspaper. He added that he was “disgusted” that Zinta could “stoop to such a level.” Wadia also told a TV news channel that it was impossible for him to assault Zinta as she is always “surrounded by bouncers.”
“It saddens me that no one at work or around ever stood up for me in the past when I was abused and insulted publicly,” Zinta posted on her Facebook page Saturday. “This time I was left with no option but to take this stern step as this incident happened in front of way too many people.”
After starting out as a model and in commercials, Zinta made her big screen debut with 1998’s Dil Se (From the Heart) co-starring with Shah Rukh Khan. Her diversified filmography includes over 30 titles. She won the Filmfare best actress award in 2003 for her turn in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho (Tomorrow May or May Not Happen) while her major hits included the sci-fi drama Koi… Mil Gaya (We Found Someone) co-starring with top actor Hrithik Roshan.
Last year, she co-produced and starred in the romantic drama Ishkq In Paris (Love In Paris) but the film underperformed at the box office.
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