Days after tennis ace Leander Paes filed a petition in the family court seeking custody of his and his long-term partner Rhea Pillai’s daughter, Aiyana, Pillai filed a complaint with the Bandra police alleging that Paes had locked her out of her own house.
Pillai and Aiyana had left their house at The Jacker’s building, Carter Road, for a party in Juhu and when Pillai came back, five men blocked her way, screamed at her and did not allow her to enter her house. She alleged that Paes had done this to lock her out of the house.
Rhea Pillai steps out of the Bandra police station yesterday. Pic/Prashant Waydande
Speaking to mid-day, Pillai said, “Thank god my daughter was not with me. I had left her at Rani Mukherji’s house and had come home to freshen up. He (Paes) is crossing all limits now.” Adding that this was not the first time something like this had happened, Pillai said, “In March, Paes’ father, his bodyguard and two hackers had broken into my puja room.
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They had taken documents after hacking into my computer and threatened to give them to the media. I had dared them to do so. After the incident, I had filed a complaint with the police on March 20 and Paes’ petition seeking Aiyana’s custody was filed in retalation.”
“They did not let me enter my part of the house. I do not want Leander’s father, who has threatened me in the past, to come stay in the puja room, which Leander is planning to do,” she added. A friend of Pillai, who accompanied her to the police station, said, “If Leander was a concerned father, would he put out information in the media that maligns Aiyana’s mother?
What if Aiyana was to return home to see her mother locked out by her father? Luckily Rhea had left her at Rani’s place and she did not have to see five of Leander’s men screaming at her mother outside her own home. After the incident, Gauri Khan and Avanti Birla reached Pillai’s house to give her moral support.”
'Rhea doesn’t want Paes’s parents to stay in the house'
A friend of Paes said, “The room Rhea is using in Leander’s house is the one Leander’s father used to live in. Under the guise of putting wooden flooring in the room for him, Rhea moved his father out and then took over the room.
This has, until now, forced Leander to spend money on renting an apartment for his own father 90 seconds down the road from his Jacker’s home.
And now, to prevent his parents from staying, Rhea has filed this complaint. Leander, who is very close to his father and said at an award function recently that he owed him his career, is obviously very hurt.”
Leander’s lawyer Zulfikar Memon said, “This is Leander’s home. Leander had instructed his staff to prepare the guestroom, where his parents normally stay, for their arrival and Rhea had placed some of her belongings in it.
This police complaint seems like a bid on Rhea’s part to gain sympathy, create controversy and stop Leander’s parents from staying. Please be clear, this is not the room that Rhea’s been using as a bedroom.”
On May 3, Paes had filed a 27-page petition in the Family Court in Bandra, seeking the custody of his daughter Aiyana, claiming he was concerned for her safety, welfare and well-being.
Paes had also sought an order restraining Rhea Pillai from taking their daughter out of Mumbai without the court’s permission. Paes claimed in the petition that he first met Rhea in November 2003 on a flight to Goa, “where the respondent (Rhea) invited the petitioner (Paes) to make a guest appearance at an Art of Living show in Mumbai.”
Paes says he accepted the invitation “following which gradually, with the constant interaction between them, and only after being informed that the respondent was separated from her then husband Sanjay Dutt, their relationship became more intimate.”
The petition concluded by seeking “permanent custody of Aiyana,” and also requesting that Pillai “be restrained by a perpetual order from taking the minor child Aiyana out of the city of Mumbai without prior leave of this Hon’ble Court.”
Senior police inspector Ramchandra Dhawale of the Bandra police said, “Rhea Pillai’s friend called up the control room and we got to know of the incident from them. Our team reached the spot. We are currently recording Rhea Pillai’s statement and then we will decide whether to file an NC or an FIR in the matter.”