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Aishwarya's parcel man traced

The 28-year-old struggling script writer stays in Hoogvliet, a suburb of Rotterdam, reports Manish Pachouly.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 16:48 IST

A Dutch journalist has traced the mystery man who sent actress Aishwarya Rai a parcel containing 23,000 euros (Rs 13.2 lakh).

The man, identified only as Avineshwar, was found by Monica Beek, who works with Rotterdams Dagblad, a supplement of AD newspaper. Monica said she got onto his trail after reading about the parcel, which also contained some elec- tronics and apparel, on the HT website.

Monica told HT that she traced Avineshwar to a humble neighbourhood in Hoogvliet, a Rotterdam suburb, last Monday. “It’s an area inhabited largely by people from the lower income group. It’s a little like Kotla in Delhi,” Monica said via email.

The door was answered by a man who acknowledged that he was Avineshwar. Monica described him as “skinny, 27 to 28 years old, and of average height”. His close friends, she learnt, call him Avin. He claimed to be a scriptwriter, who wrote in Hindi, Sanskrit and Dutch.

“Avineshwar admitted to sending the parcel, but feigned ignorance about the euros,” Monica said. Avineshwar told her that he regularly wrote to movie stars, who sometimes responded. He admitted to sending gifts to them too, but he had a strange explanation for it. “He said it was to let them know about the West,” said Monica. Avineshwar, said Monica, spoke to her for just a few minutes and was not very forthcoming about details.

Avineshwar, angry at the controversy over the parcel, told Monica he would now have to think of “another way” of keeping in touch with stars.

He claimed to be ill, which is why he killed time by writing scripts. Incidentally, the flat in which Avineshwar resides, is a duplex four-room apartment. Monica described the inside as dull. Such an apartment costs about 2 lakh euros (Rs 1.16 crore), but it was unclear whether Avineshwar was a tenant or the owner.

Monica visited Avineshwar on Tuesday again to wean out more details. This time, he spoke longer. He said that the package was “a very personal matter”.

Avineshwar told her he had grown up in Rotterdam and studied a technical subject at the university in Delft. Avineshwar also said he planned to move to India, “but he had put it off because of all the commotion (over the parcel)”.

Commissioner of Customs (Import) AK Prasad said he got the impression that Avineshwar was just a star-struck fan who sent the parcel for his 15 minutes of fame. “We’ll know more when we get feedback from the official channel,” Prasad said. The Customs department is writing to the Indian embassy in Holland through the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for information on him. “It will take a week’s time,” said Prasad.

Rai’s lawyer Girish Kulkarni said the matter should be probed as sending money in such a manner was illegal. Also, it had harmed Rai’s reputation. “We all want to know who this man is and why he’s doing this,” said Kulkarni.

Email: manish.pachouly@hindustantimes.com