With the city police being slammed for inviting rape-accused singer Ankit Tiwari to their annual event, we take a look at instances when the men in khaki faced public ire for showing undue favours to Bollywood celebs.
Bollywood's fascination with the gun-totting men in khaki goes a long way back. Even off screen, the industry is known to enjoy a good rapport with the police. Filmmakers and actors, who take inputs from policemen for cop-based projects, have been seen returning the favour in various ways — from performing at police events to inaugurating books written by top officers and pledging support to their initiatives.
However, this proximity has, at times, worked against the police force as well as the stars themselves. In the latest incident, the Umang Police Show ran into controversy after singer Ankit Tiwari, who was arrested last May on rape charges, performed at the event on Saturday night. The singer, it is alleged, participated in the function to gain favour with the law-keepers. Though the Mumbai police commissioner tendered an apology for Ankit's presence at the event, the Bollywood-police equation has again come under the scanner. hitlist draws up a list of actors who stirred up a hornet's nest for being pally with the cops.
Shah Rukh Khan
Last August, the superstar found himself in the midst of a controversy when he lifted a woman constable (in pic) during a police function in Kolkata. When the dance pictures went viral, political parties lashed out at the uniformed cop for shaking a leg with the celebrity.
The actor scoffed at the criticism stating that no one had raised the uniform issue when he had taken part in similar shows with male soldiers. He also said that the issue was being raked up not because a cop in uniform had danced with him, but because it was a woman.
In 2007, when the actress filed a case against her personal secretary Prakash Jaju for alleged verbal harassment, the police drew flak for giving her special treatment. It was reported that an officer of Oshiwara police station allegedly brought the complaint register till Priyanka's car so that she could sign on it without having to step out. The breach of rules was followed by a departmental probe.
Saif Ali Khan
The actor has been accused of getting undue favour from the police on a few instances, apparently due to his influential family background. Three years ago, he was booked for allegedly assaulting an NRI at a five-star restaurant in the city. The actor was said to have surrendered at the police station late in the evening and granted bail in just 90 minutes. Normally, for a common man, such a process takes time. But, the actor was presented before the night court and released immediately. However, the police claimed that no rules had been bent for the actor.
In 2007, a star-struck constable of Pune's Yerwada jail was placed under suspension for hugging Sanjay Dutt —convicted under the Arms Act in 1993 Mumbai blasts case — when he came out on interim bail.
Seven years ago, pictures of a constable hugging Sanjay Dutt outside the Yerwada jail went viral and led to the former's suspension. Pic/Shadab Khan
The state government served showcause notice to eight others who shook hands with Munnabhai of the silver screen, the footage of which was generously flashed by news channels.
Ankit Tiwari says the hue and cry over his performance at the Umang Police Show has been blown out of proportion. "I am a resident of Mumbai and have immense respect for the police. I am fortunate to have got the opportunity to be a part of the function. Moreover, the judiciary has not restricted me from performing anywhere," he asserts.
The 'Galliyan' singer says that he also enjoys the freedom to travel and perform abroad. "I came out of jail in 10 days and no one did any favours to me. They completed the investigation and granted me bail. I have complete trust in the judicial system and I will get justice," he states.
Ankit maintains that there was no give-and-take to his performance on Saturday.
"I had been invited to perform. There is no conspiracy behind it. It is silly to expect the police to quash charges against me just because I performed at their show. I went there with good intentions and am facing criticism now.
They (police) believed in my talent and thought I was capable enough to entertain them. If I hadn't gone, it would have been rude. What's more, people would have still criticised me saying I have become arrogant and didn't bother to fulfil my commitment."