Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sanjay Dutt says producer threatened him through dons

A day after a court ordered the attachment of two properties of Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt over a financial row with producer Shakeel Noorani, the actor's lawyer claimed on December 29 that he received extortion calls from the underworld in 2005 at Noorani's behest.

The film producer rubbished the allegation.

"Sanjay Dutt does not owe a single penny to Shakeel Noorani. Noorani, in the past, has been demanding money from Sanjay Dutt. Mr. Dutt has received extortion calls at the behest of Shakeel Noorani. The complaint was lodged with the Anti-Extortion Cell and late (senior police inspector) Vijay Salaskar was investigating the case," said Rizwan Merchant, Dutt's lawyer.

"Statement of Sanjay Dutt has been recorded. Shakeel Noorani was also personally called to the office of the Anti-Extortion Cell," he added.

Merchant said that when Noorani did not succeed in his extortion demands in 2005, he (Noorani) made a complaint to the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA), which was rejected.

"Once a complaint is rejected, a subsequent complaint is barred. The IMPPA could not have passed any award once the first complaint was rejected," Merchant said.

Noorani, however, rubbished all allegations made by the actor's lawyer.

"In fact, Sanjay Dutt has threatened to get me shot if I chase him to complete my film. He had personally thrown me out of the set where he was shooting for his film "EMI" when I requested him to finish my film," Noorani said.

Noorani also denied making any extortion calls, claiming that he had no underworld connections. "It is Sanjay Dutt who has underworld connections. He often met people from the underworld when we went for shooting abroad," he said.

"I was also never called for questioning by Salaskar. You can check the records if you want," he told reporters.

Noorani also claimed that the IMPPA had never rejected his complaint.

The Bombay High Court Tuesday ordered the attachment of two properties of Dutt. The decision followed an arbitration award passed by the IMPPA in January in favour of Noorani.

The properties ordered to be attached include the actor's flat in the Imperial Heights building at Pali Hill in suburban Bandra and his office in suburban Santa Cruz.

Dutt has 30 days to pay Noorani, failing which his properties will be auctioned. The actor can also challenge the order in the high court.


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