Ness Wadia booked for molesting Preity Zinta

Ness Wadia booked for molesting  Preity Zinta

Businessman Ness Wadia was booked for molesting his former girlfriend and actor Preity Zinta, who also accused him of threatening to kill her.

Zinta had filed a complaint with the Marine Drive police station on Thursday night in which she alleged that the Wadia scion and co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab grabbed her arm, abused and threatened her inside Wankhede stadium in south Mumbai on May 30. On Saturday, an FIR was registered against Wadia, who termed the charges baseless.

An investigating officer said police have already started calling witnesses in the case. Police are examining the CCTV footage of the alleged incident, which took place during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match, to identify people present to record their statement.

The 39-year-old actor, who had broken off her five-year-long relationship with Wadia, 44, a couple of years ago, said her former boyfriend intimidated her by saying that he is a powerful person and can make her disappear.

Wadia was booked under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent of outraging her modesty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), police said.

Several players of Kings XI Punjab, their support staff and officials of Wankhede Stadium will be questioned as it was claimed that they were present when the alleged incident took place. Sources at Marine Drive police station said IPL CEO Sundar Raman would also be questioned as he is said to have intervened when Zinta was screamed at by Wadia. 

Wadia issued a statement on Saturday denying Zinta’s allegations. “I am shocked at the complaint. The allegations made against me are totally false and baseless,” he said. 

Police may contemplate any action against Wadia after questioning witnesses. As the case came under media spotlight, Zinta said her intention was “not to harm anyone but only to protect myself” and requested privacy. “This is a very difficult time for me and I would like to request the media to please respect my privacy in this matter.”

Calling it a “fight for respect at my workplace”, the actress said she has truth by her side but was saddened that “no one at work or around ever stood up for me in the past when I was abused and insulted publicly”. “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,” Zinta, 39, posted on Facebook.

“Ironically what happened at Wankhede is being diluted by every other fabricated story about my character except the truth of what happened. I’m sure the witnesses will speak the truth and I trust and believe that the police will do their job fairly and quickly... All these years I have never said anything about him in the media but now I have no choice,” she said.

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