Actress Nupur Mehta gestures after addressing newsmen in Mumbai, rubbishing allegations that she was involved in match fixing in India-Pak WC semis. PTI photo
After denying any contact with cricketers, Bollywood actor Nupur Mehta has told the Sunday Times of her trip to a London casino during the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, where she claims to have met some international players — by chance.
"I went to the casino on my own and these cricketers happened to be there. They were all in London because of the T20 World Cup," she told the Sunday Times, which last week alleged that Indian bookies were using women, including a Bollywood star, to lure players into fixing matches.
Although it did not name the actor, Mehta later identified herself from a photograph published by the British paper.
Mehta, who denied any role in the fixing scandal and threatened to sue the paper for maligning her reputation, has so far claimed that she didn't know any cricketer or bookie.
"I didn't think that meeting them (cricketers) was any kind of harm. I'm a young girl who loves cricket," she said.
Mehta told the paper that she shared a hotel room with an Indian businessman during the London trip. The Sunday Times claims the man, whom it refused to identify for legal reasons, was in fact a bookie.
The bookie was reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) by Sri Lankan team manager Brendan Kuruppu after he allegedly trying to recruit three of their players at the casino on the night of June 22, 2009. One of the players was ex-Sri Lankan skipper Dilshan Tillakaratne, the paper said.
"I no longer have any kind of relationship with this person. I knew he was in the construction business, that's about it," Mehta said.
"There is no suggestion that Mehta approached the cricketers or that any of the Lankan players, including Tillakaratne, were involved in any match-fixing activities," the paper said. Tillakaratne went on to win the tournament's Man of the Series award.