The first Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant, who has been criticised for backing out of a commitment to a blind orchestra here, says his cousin is deliberately tarnishing his image.
"I don't know why. But I'm constantly made to look like a villain when all I want to do is work," Abhijeet said from Britain.
He is accompanying singer-composer Himesh Reshammiya for the Aap Ka Suroor live concert.
"I don't want to sound like a victim. But the latest example of my alleged villainy is that I agreed to sing for a blind orchestra called Udaan at Ghatkopar and then backed out of fulfilling my commitment.
"The truth is, it's the mediator, a cousin of mine, who played dirty. I was promised Rs.1.5 lakh (Rs.150,000) to come to the show. Out of this, I finally got only Rs.50,000. I went to the show, sang and fraternised with the orchestra. As soon as I came to know that the organisers were unhappy about my performance, I refunded all the money.
"It was made out as though I was forced to return the money when the truth is I readily and voluntarily gave it back. I later came to know the organisers had given Rs.80,000 for me. The mediators had swallowed up Rs.30,000."
Abhijeet is finding it hard to cope with all the negative vibes.
"But I'm happy with my career after becoming the first Indian Idol. I'm doing innumerable shows in India and abroad. And I've sung the songs of a film called 'Mumbai.com'. I'm also starting work on my second film."
Abhijeet also cleared the air once and for all about the controversy surrounding his secret fiancée.
"Yes, there's a girl. And she is a very special friend. But she isn't my fiancée, as some papers wrote. She works for Jet. She's from a middleclass family and wants to be kept away from the limelight. We should respect that. Let's see what future holds for the two of us."