I fear for my daughter's life, says Tennis ace Leander Paes

The ugly battle between the tennis star and Rhea Pillai took a turn for the worse as Paes filed a police complaint alleging that her friend Atul Sharma issued threats to him and his daughter outside a Bandra courtroom

The battle between tennis legend Leander Paes and his ex-partner Rhea Pillai took a turn for the worse, with the tennis ace lodging a police case against an aspiring cricketer for allegedly issuing death threats to him and his daughter.

Also read: Leander Paes takes Rhea Pillai to court over daughter's custody

He also claimed the man was having an affair with Pillai. Paes registered the case with the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police station. Paes confirmed going to the cops, but didn’t wish to elaborate as the matter is sub-judice.

Leander Paes told police he had submitted documents to the court proving that cricketer Atul Sharma (left) had an affair with his former partner Rhea Pillai. File pics
Leander Paes told police he had submitted documents to the court proving that cricketer Atul Sharma (left) had an affair with his former partner Rhea Pillai. File pics

“Yes, I have filed a police complaint. I fear for my daughter’s life and mine. We will let justice take its course on the complaint,” Paes told mid-day. According to the police, the case has been lodged against one Atul Sharma, an aspiring cricketer who was on the squad of Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League for a year.

Atul Sharma has been charged with criminal intimidation
Atul Sharma has been charged with criminal intimidation

Paes, in his complaint, told the police that Sharma had threatened him on the sixth floor of the family court in BKC. mid-day had reported in May this year that Paes had filed a guardianship petition in the family court, seeking permanent custody of his daughter, Aiyana, from estranged partner Pillai.

In the petition, Paes said Pillai had “misrepresented the facts” in their relationship. He had also sought an order restraining Pillai from taking the child out of Mumbai without permission.

'Proof of affair'
Paes had gone to the BKC family court on October 14 for the custody hearing. He told the BKC police that he had submitted documentary evidence in court, proving that Sharma and Pillai had an affair going on.

“As soon as Paes exited the courtroom, he alleged that Sharma stopped him and threatened to kill him and his daughter. The reason, according to Paes, are the documents which allegedly prove the affair,” said a police officer.

“Moments after the court proceedings, Sharma went up to Paes and began abusing him. Sharma ensured that Paes’s lawyers were not around at the time and gave the tennis player the choicest of bad words in English and Hindi. He then threatened to kill Leander and his daughter Aiyana,” said a source.

Paes approached the cops on Thursday. “A case was registered under sections 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code against Sharma,” added the officer.

Police will now examine footage from CCTV cameras on the court premises. “We will also call Sharma to record his statement, and verify the facts from the other witnesses who saw Sharma threaten Paes,” said Kundalik Nigade, senior inspector at BKC police station.

The six-time Olympian left in the wee hours of this morning to participate in an indoor tennis tournament in Switzerland, followed by another tournament in France. He returns only after two weeks and is, therefore, worried about the safety of his daughter during his absence.

While Pillai was not available for comment, her lawyer, Mrunalini Deshmukh, said, “My client is not having any illicit relationship with anybody, and we have denied it in the past also. As for the complaint, I have no knowledge of it, so I cannot comment on it.”

- Inputs by Bharati Dubey

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