Mumbai court summons Madhur Bhandarkar in rape case

Spelling fresh trouble for National Award-winning film director Madhur Bhandarkar, a Mumbai court Monday issued summons against him in a 2004 rape case filed by an upcoming starlet, the complainant's lawyer said.

"The magistrate, Andheri Railway Mobile Court, today issued summons asking Madhur Bhandarkar to appear before it Oct 18 and file his statement in the case," advocate S. Kunjuraman, lawyer for the alleged victim, Pretti Jain, told IANS.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, Bhandarkar remained unavailable for comment and did not reply to SMSes seeking his version of the developmentsĀ -- later his phone was switched off.

Police earlier requested the court to dismiss the case against Bhandarkar as during their investigations they found Pretti's allegations false.

Kunjuraman said that Magistrate B.B. Pantawane Monday issued summons to Bhandarkar over Jain's complaint over offences including rape and intimidation.

In July 2004, Pretti, living in Malad suburb of north Mumbai, created a sensation after she accused Bhandarkar of rape on the pretext of giving her a lead role in his film.

Pretti alleged that she slept with Bhandarkar from 1999-2004 as he promised her a role in his films and marriage.

In a statement later, Pretti alleged: "We had sex 16 times and Madhur made promises of giving me a lead role in his films. However, he didn't offer me a lead role in any of his movies. At times when I refused, he raped me."

In September 2005, Pretti was arrested after she reportedly hired a contract killer for Rs.70,000 to murder Bhandarkar.

In January 2006, police requested the court to dismiss the case against Bhandarkar as they had found Pretti's allegations to be false.

Bhandarkar, 44, is credited with making sensitive, critically acclaimed and box-office hit films like "Chandni Bar", "Page 3", "Traffic Signal" and "Corporate".

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