A Mumbai-based antique dealer of unique furniture and home décor items has filed a petition in the Supreme Court accusing well-known film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali of making false insurance claims by setting ablaze the set of his films after completion of shooting.
Farida Hoosenally has challenged a Bombay High Court order staying the proceedings of a lower court that was hearing a criminal case against Bhansali. She has sought continuation of the criminal proceedings against Bhansali even as his petition challenging it is pending before the high court.
In her petition, she accused the film-maker of indulging in making of false insurance claims by setting his film sets on fire after shooting of films. The petitioner alleged that he claimed and received huge amount from insurance companies towards compensation by setting at ablaze his film sets of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Black and other films in connivance with employees of insurance companies.
The Supreme Court is to hear Hoosenally’s petition on Tuesday. According to Hoosenally, she deals in antique furniture and was approached by Bhansali in August 2003 with an offer to hire the items for his film, Black. The director offered to pay her a monthly rent of Rs 6 lakh for the furniture and artifacts.
However, in February 2004 there was a fire on the film’s sets that also destroyed the furniture belonging to Hoosenally. The petitioner has claimed before the Supreme Court that on her inquiry she learnt the fire was on account of Bhansali’s negligence as he illegally used the subsidized 14.2 kilogram domestic cooking gas cylinders on a large scale to generate flames as required for the sequence of the film. She later learnt that Bhansali had removed all the items supplied by her. To support her claim Hoosenally has cited the surveyor’s report that said there was no residue or remnants of heavy bronze, copper or brass items at the spot.
Following an application by Hoosenally a metropolitan magistrate of Boriwalli district court had on June 6, 2005 ordered Mumbai police to investigate the charges against Bhansali. On concluding its probe, the police had in November 2006 filed a chargesheet before the judge. Challenging the proceedings Bhansali approached the Mumbai high court that extended relief to the film director by staying the proceedings against him.