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Kings XI Punjab official confirms Ness-Preity spat

The Mumbai Police probing the case of alleged molestation filed by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta against her ex-boyfriend and industrialist Ness Wadia, have recorded the statement of hospitality manager of IPL team Kings XI Punjab Tara Sharma, who has confirmed the spat between the two.

Sharma also said heated arguments erupted between Wadia and Zinta over seating arrangements at Wankhede Stadium’s Garware pavilion, police said.

“The statement of Sharma, who is an independent witness in the case, was recorded last night. She stated Ness had also yelled at her (Sharma) on May 30 over seating arrangements,” said a police officer privy to the probe.

Sources in the Wadia camp had said after the incident that the Bombay Dyeing group scion flew into a rage on May 30 when his mother Maureen had to keep standing as seats at Garware Pavilion had been occupied by Zinta and her guests.

In her complaint to the police on June 12, Zinta had accused Wadia of molesting, abusing and threatening her during an IPL encounter between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings on May 30.

Despite their break-up, Wadia and Zinta continue to co-own Kings XI Punjab team.

Marine Drive police have registered an FIR against Wadia under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

Meanwhile, police have begun to approach the witnesses listed by Wadia whose statements he wants to be recorded in connection with the case.

“Of the nine witnesses listed by Wadia, a few have been contacted and they have expressed their willingness to appear before us to record their statements. Their statements will be recorded soon,” the officer said.

The names of witnesses mentioned in a letter delivered to Marine Drive police on Wednesday by a representative of Wadia are: Serieka Lal, Loretta Joseph, Pooja Dadlani, Anneline Adams, Farah Oomerbhoy, Sweetie Burman, Kamlesh Shah, Rayaan Mustapha and Sharat Nath.

Shailesh Gupta, a journalist named as a witness by Zinta, too has been contacted and he would record his statement soon, the officer added.

Police have so far recorded statements of 12 witnesses, seven of whom have been described as “crucial witnesses” by the investigators.

Among those whose statements have been recorded are IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel and COO of Kings XI Punjab Fraser Castellino.

Witnesses Danish Merchant, Jai Kanojia and Parul Khanna have confirmed that Wadia had “pulled” Zinta by hand during a “heated” argument, while Castellino said he did not see any fight or argument between the two.

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