A row over front row seats at the Garware Pavilion in Wankhede stadium escalated to the showdown between Kings XI Punjab co-owners Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia in “full public view”, with Wadia insisting that his family including mother Maureen Wadia be seated in the front row occupied by Preity Zinta and cricketer David Miller’s family, sources said.
Police have written to Preity Zinta to record her statement by Thursday this week.
Sources said the incident took place when Ness Wadia arrived with his family at the Wankhede Stadium around 8:15 pm on May 30. Eye-witnesses said the match had already begun by then and Preity Zinta was seated along with David Miller’s family (Kings XI Punjab’s South African player) in the front row.
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Ness Wadia reportedly insisted that his family be seated in the front row and requested Kings XI Chief Operating Officer (COO) Fraser Castellino to vacate the seats for his family. Castellino then requested Preity Zinta, but she reportedly refused.
Ness Wadia was livid on the refusal and the bickering continued during the match where Kings XI Punjab defeated Chennai Super Kings. It is learnt that Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta lost their cool and exchanged insults while leaving the Stadium.
A tearful Preity Zinta apparently spoke to IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal about Ness Wadia’s behaviour soon afterwards, but there was no official complaint registered with the BCCI, board sources said. The matter was then communicated to Sundar Raman, IPL COO.
BCCI sources said the police had written to them asking for details persons who were present in the Kings XI Punjab section as well as of those who had given these tickets to the franchise.
Based on Preity Zinta’s complaint, the police have filed a case under sections 509 and 354 (outraging a woman’s modesty), 504 (breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation).
Meanwhile, since Preity Zinta failed to mention the exact location where the incident took shape, the police are analysing CCTV footage from four cameras provided by the Mumbai Cricket Association.
“We want Preity Zinta to provide us better details of the incident by the end of the week. At the moment, she is in Los Angeles and we do not know when she will return to India,” said a senior police officer.
“We have seen a portion in the footage where the two are seen speaking with each other. But we would not know if they are having a heated argument,” an official said.
Police said two south Mumbai-based businessmen were expected to visit them on Wednesday to record their statements. “Their names were given to us by Preity Zinta as witnesses,” Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police (south region), said.
BCCI officials have offered help to the police with a list of 30 persons who shared seats in the first two front rows at the Garware pavilion on that day.
(Inputs from Megha Sood, Srinath Rao)