Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Slumdog Dad Tries To Sell Daughter


SLUMDOG Millionaire starlet RUBINA ALI'S father was arrested last night over claims he tried to sell his daughter for £200,000 ($291,000) - after a complaint from his ex-wife.

Indian cops spent several hours quizzing Rafiq Qureshi, 36, and are now anxious to obtain video recordings of the meeting at which the deal was supposedly brokered.

Rubina's mother Khurshida - who walked out on the family in 2001 - claimed she knew two weeks ago of the intended child-trade with a rich Dubai sheikh.

But she added: "My elder daughter had informed me...I did not believe he would actually go through with it."

Khurshida branded Rafiq and his new wife Mina as "money-crazy" and desperate to cash-in on the nine-year-old's fame.

Police official Prakash Salunke, who is leading the investigation, said: "Khursida was very upset by the media reports and she came to lodge a complaint.

"We are registering her grievance and then we'll investigate and decide what further steps should be taken in the matter.

"When we questioned Rubina she said she does not want to go anywhere and wants to live with her father.

"Similarly, Rafiq Qureshi also said he has no intentions of selling her."

Christian Colson, the producer of Slumdog Millionaire, said: "Our friends and colleagues in Mumbai are trying to speak with Mr Qureshi to get to the bottom of what happened."

Meanwhile, Rafiq and Rubina were in hiding after giving detailed accounts of the five-star hotel meeting with the sheikh called Yunis and his "wife".

He said the sheikh had been phoning him since Slumdog swept the Oscars in January and had explained that his wife could not have children.

At the hotel Latika actress Rubina was showered with gifts including gold jewelry and chocolate, and he believed the couple were only insterested in her welfare.

They were summoned back again the next day, at which an assistant informed Rafiq that the sheikh would like to bring the girl up as his own.

Rafiq,a £2-a-day laborer, said: "I politely said Rubina is happy with me and wanted to leave. After this they made an offer of money in English which I did not understand.

"Then they requested me to leave her there overnight and take her in the morning. I refused and took Rubina away with me."

However, family friend Dinesh Dubey said Rubina was finding the whole drama "funny" and had asked Rafiq: "Father, how did you land in trouble - because of me?"