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HindustanTimes Wed,26 Nov 2014

Zinta-Ness case: 2 common friends emerge key witnesses

Vijay Kumar Yadav, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 21, 2014
First Published: 09:12 IST(21/6/2014) | Last Updated: 09:18 IST(21/6/2014)

Two common friends of Preity Zinta and industrialist Ness Wadia are among the key witnesses in the molestation case filed by the actor against her former boyfriend, the police said, and are out of the seven people whose statements have been recorded so far.

A senior police official told HT that the two, Jay Kanaujiya and Danish Merchant, confirmed their presence at the spot of the alleged incident. “In their statement, they said they had seen Zinta and Wadia having a heated argument,” a senior officer said.

“Their accounts are important because they are common friends of the complainant and Wadia and their statements are in the affirmative,” the officer said.

On June 12, Zinta, a coowner of Kings XI Punjab, had lodged a complaint with the Marine Drive police alleging that Wadia, also an owner of the IPL team, had publicly insulted, abused and outraged her modesty at the Wankhede Stadium on May 30. She later told the police about two witnesses. With the help of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the police identified Kanaujiya and Merchant. Wadia has maintained that the complaint against him was ‘false and baseless.’

Earlier, on Thursday, IPL chief operating officer (COO) Sundar Raman, in his statement to the police, confirmed that Zinta had verbally complained t o him re g arding Wadia’s behaviour.

Apart from Raman, Kanaujiya and Merchant, the police have so far recorded the statements of BCCI official Ankit Baldi and three women who were posted as hospitality staff at the Garware Pavilion by the BCCI, the police said. One of them recorded her statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal told the police on Friday that the he was flying to Australia from Delhi on work, and would be available next week to record his statement about the purported verbal complaints to him by Zinta about Wadia’s behavior.

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