'Slumdog' star Rubina's mom drags her, ex-husband to police

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Mumbai/London, April 19 (IANS) "Slumdog Millionaire" fame Rubina Ali's mother Khushi Sunday afternoon lodged a complaint with police following media reports that her estranged husband allegedly attempted to 'sell' their daughter, a police official said.

"She was very upset by the media reports and she came to lodge a compliant. We are registering her grievance and then we'll investigate and decide what further steps should be taken in the matter," Prakash Salunkhe, who heads the Nirmal Nagar police station, told IANS here Sunday evening.

Following the complaint, police summoned Rubina, 9, and her father Rafiq Qureshi to the police station, he added.

"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 that he has no intentions of 'selling' her, as reported in the media," Salunkhe said.

Khushi expressed shock over reports that her ex-husband was planning to sell Rubina for 200,000 pounds (over Rs.14 million).

"Although my elder daughter Sanaa had informed me about the matter almost two weeks ago, I did not believe he (Qureshi) would actually agree to it," Khushi told IANS.

She alleged that Qureshi and his second wife Meena were always "crazy for money" and now that Rubina has achieved international fame, they want to capitalise on it at any cost.

A British news website, News of the World, had reported that Qureshi wanted to get rid of poverty and become a millionaire by selling his nine-year old daughter, after it conducted a sting operation.

It reported that in a bid to escape slum life, Rafiq Qureshi has put Rubina up for adoption, demanding 200,000 pounds.

Rafiq offered the shocking deal to the News of the World's undercover reporters posing as a wealthy family from Dubai.

He told the fake sheikh this week: "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."

Rafiq tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for sale. As he tried to fix the illegal adoption deal, Rafiq declared: "We've got nothing out of this film."

Then, almost embarrassed to speak it out loud, he whispered to an accomplice the price tag he has put on his daughter: "It's 200,000 pounds."

That was an astonishing four-fold increase on his opening demand. But Rafiq's equally demanding brother Mohiuddin insisted: "The child is special now. This is not an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!"

Meanwhile, though they have attained 'celebrity' status and are in constant media glare, there is no improvement in their living conditions, making their families extremely frustrated, said Qureshi's neighbour and friend Yakub Abdul Sheikh.

The families continue to live in abject poverty in temporary shelters near a municipal garden in Garib Nagar after their slums were demolished last year by civic authorities.

Sheikh pointed out that although the Maharashtra government had promised to allot flats to them, the proposal was stuck because of Lok Sabha elections.

Rubina's mother has also demanded that Qureshi must account for the money the child earned from the movie and added that it should be spent to admit her to a good hostel.

"That money should be put aside in a separate deposit in Rubina's name and she should be admitted to a good hostel. She can be taken care of and can also pursue her studies and acting career simultaneously," Khushi said.

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