Mumbai police will record statements of Indian Premier League (IPL) CEO Sundar Raman and Wankhede Stadium staff in connection with the May 30 incident of alleged molestation and abuse of Bollywood actress Preity Zinta by her former boyfriend and industrialist Ness Wadia, who has rejected the charges as "false and baseless".
Sources at Marine Drive police station said Raman, several players of IPL team Kings XI Punjab, of which Zinta is a co-owner with Wadia, their support staff and officials of Wankhede Stadium were claimed to have been present when the alleged incident took place and their statements will be recorded.
The 39-year-old actress had filed a police complaint on Thursday night alleging that she was molested by Wadia (44) inside Wankhede stadium on May 30 when an IPL match was played between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.
Zinta and Wadia had broken off their five-year-long relationship a couple of years back but had shared business interest.
"We will be recording the statement of IPL CEO as Zinta has said that after she refused to sit with Wadia, he had screamed at her and the IPL CEO had intervened," an officer involved in the investigation said.
Questioning the "delay" in taking action in the case, Maharashtra State Women's Rights Commission has given the city police a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest Wadia.
Chitra Wagh, a member of the state's Women's Rights Commission, who visited Marine Drive police station to inquire about the progress of investigation, said, "We have served a 24-hour ultimatum to Mumbai police to arrest Ness Wadia.
"This is a sensitive case and police have taken no action more than 24 hours after the complaint was filed. The incident happened at a public place. Police have assured us they would record the statements of witnesses and examine CCTV footage over the next few hours and take action within 24 hours," she said.
Based on Zinta's written complaint, Marine Drive police have registered an FIR against Wadia under IPC sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
According to the complaint, Wadia molested the actress, pushed her and used abusive language in the presence of several people.
Wagh, who said she had a copy of the FIR, claimed Wadia even threatened to kill the actress.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said "offence has been registered. We are trying to collect evidence like the statements of those involved and CCTV footage".
Wadia has, meanwhile, said he was shocked at the allegations and termed them as "false and baseless". "I am shocked at the complaint and the allegations made against me are totally false and baseless," he said in a statement.
Hours later, Zinta also issued a statement saying it was a "difficult time" for her and requested the media for privacy. "This is a very difficult time for me and I would like to request the media to please respect my privacy regarding this matter. My intention is not to harm any one but only to protect my self," she said.