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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Police release tapes in Bollywood trial
Screenings of Chori Chori Chupke Chupke were under armed guard
Police are trying to prove mafia-Bollywood links

Police in Bombay have released a recording of what they say is a phone conversation between Indian film star Sanjay Dutt and a leading crime boss.

Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt: Long accused of mafia links

The tapes appear to contain threats made against the life of two other Bollywood superstars, Hrithik Roshan and Govinda.

The recording, said to have been made in December 2000, has been submitted in the trial of one of India's leading film producers and financiers, Bharat Shah, who is accused of links with the criminal underworld.

This is not the first time Sanjay Dutt's name has been associated with the underworld.

The son of famous Bollywood parents, he is himself facing court proceedings in connection with illegal possession of firearms.

He is also accused of helping gangsters who are blamed for a series of bombings in Bombay in 1993 in which more than 250 people were killed.

No comment

Mr Dutt has denied the charges and was released on bail after a protracted legal battle.

Bharat Shah (right)
Bharat Shah: Charged with illegal financing

The case against him, however, is still pending and legal experts say his efforts to clear his name are unlikely to be helped by these new revelations.

Mr Dutt is not the only film personality to feature on the police tapes.

Director Mahesh Manjrekar and others also apparently took part in the conversation with Karachi-based crime boss Chota Shakeel.

Neither they nor Mr Dutt were available for comment on Monday.

Hrithik Roshan is one of Bollywood's most guarded stars.

His father, film producer Rakesh Roshan, was shot and injured for refusing to give mafia dons the overseas rights to his blockbuster Say That You Love Me.

Questions

So far, local authorities are not saying how the Bombay police acquired the recordings or why they chose to hold them for more than a year and a half.

Nor has there been any word from the police about whether they plan to take any action against Mr Dutt.

But a number of questions are being raised about the manner as well as the timing of the release of the tapes.

Mr Shah, who denies the charges against him, was released on bail only a couple of months ago, after being in jail for more than a year.

See also:

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Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


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