Father Denies Trying to Sell Slumdog Daughter; Police Investigating Report
Mumbai police are investigating a report that the father of a Slumdog Millionaire child star tried to sell her, but he says he was the victim of a "dirty" undercover scheme by a British tabloid whose reporters attempted to trick him.
The News of the World claimed Rafiq Qureshi, who lives in the slums with his daughter, offered to sell 9-year-old Rubina Ali for roughly $300,000.
"They played dirty with us, but we didn't accept any money from them," Qureshi told the BBC. "My daughter is not for sale."
Qureshi said an offer was put on the table by the reporters, who set up three meetings with him and a "wealthy Arab couple" to talk about Rubina's rags-to-Hollywood story.
In the last meeting, Qureshi said he talked to someone on the phone who thanked him for putting Rubina up for adoption. "[They] came back to us with an offer of 500,000 rupees as an advance. We refused, but they kept saying if we accepted the offer, the money can be arranged in five minutes."
Police opened the investigation Sunday after Rubina's mother, who is divorced from Qureshi, went to the police. Qureshi and Rubina both gave statements to the police Sunday night, Reuters reports.
Rubina played the youngest Latika in Slumdog. Last week, the film's producers started a trust for Rubina and costar Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail to ensure they receive education and housing.