Preity-Ness case: Four new witnesses support Wadia
Four new witnesses called by industrialist Ness Wadia in connection with allegations levelled against him by actress Preity Zinta informed the Mumbai police that everything was "normal" between the two celebrities May 30 during a cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium, here.
These witnesses are Nicholas Chen, Saumitra Srivastava, Rustom Lawyer and his wife Gia, official sources said here Thursday.
The Lawyer couple - Rustom and Gia - told the police Wednesday that during the match they were seated in the 4th row of Garware Pavilion block where the incident, alleged by Preity, occurred.
Wadia came with his family 15 minutes after the match started. But his mother and nephew had to keep standing for about 15 minutes as there were no seats available.
Later, two aisle seats in the third row were vacated which they occupied and after another few minutes, they got seats in the first row.
After this, Wadia went to Preity and had a brief talk with her, but neither of them seemed upset and both continued to watch the match and cheered for their team.
Chen said that since Wadia's mother and nephew did not have seats, he vacated his two seats, after which Wadia went to ask the Kings XI team staff why no seats were reserved for his family.
After 10 minutes, the staff arranged for two seats in the front row right aisle, following which Chen returned to his original seat.
Subsequently, Wadia and Preity had a short conversation and later he proceeded up the stairs.
"The conversation lasted about a minute and never during the conversation did I see Ness (Wadia) abuse, shout, touch or grab Zinta's hand...Later on, during the match half-time, Zinta came to the AC box, where we were also present, and even spoke to Ness's sister-in-law and her children," Chen's statement said.
Srivastava said he wished Wadia on his birthday and though he had a ticket for a seat, he watched the match standing in the aisle as no seat was available.
He also noticed Wadia and his family without a seat, and then saw him having a conversation with Preity.
"I could not hear what they said nor did it look anything more than a normal conversation so I didn't pay any attention," Srivastava said in his testimony to the investigators.
In the past couple of months, four other witnesses have also testified in favour of Wadia at different times to the Mumbai police.
They are Nimish Mahintura, Pooja Dadlani, Farah Oomerbhoy and Sawan Daru.
Wadia had provided a list of nine witnesses to the police in the incident during the Kings XI versus Chennai Super Kings IPL match here.
Besides, police have also questioned several of the 14 witnesses listed by Preity, but are yet to question Wadia in the matter.
Preity June 12 had accused Wadia of abusing her publicly and manhandling her. Wadia responded by dismissing the allegations as "totally false and baseless."
(Posted on 04-09-2014)