Model Preeti Jain has been convicted on charges of conspiracy to kill filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar. She is now out on bail for Rs 15,000 and her sentence has been suspended for four weeks so she can approach the High Court.
Preeti had first come into the news for a whole other reason — and how she ended up on the other side of the law is a story that is as strange as it is, right out of a Hindi film.
In 2004, Preeti accused Madhur Bhandarkar of rape and lodged a complaint with the Versova Police where she alleged that the filmmaker had raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004 with the promise of casting her in his films. She also alleged that he promised to marry her and produced SMS texts, where he had reportedly asked for sexual favours, as evidence.
Bhandarkar claimed that the complaint was cheating-related, not about rape. In 2011, a Mumbai court found substance in her complaint and asked Bhandarkar to face the trial. He challenged the lower court’s order before the higher court, which too rejected his plea.
In 2011, the police filed a report where it stated that the claim against the filmmaker was ‘maliciously false’. The court rejected this report and held there was prima facie a case against Bhandarkar.
The Bombay High Court confirmed the magisterial court’s decision to continue with Bhandarkar’s prosecution. In 2011, the Bombay high court asked the filmmaker to face the trial in the case. He challenged the court’s order, which was later set aside by the Supreme Court.
In 2012, Supreme Court justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad passed an order quashing the ongoing criminal proceedings, noting that Preeti Jain did not want to pursue the case against Bhandarkar and that the Mumbai police had earlier called the claim false and thus given him a clean chit.
While the court case had enough twists and turns for a regular potboiler, it was a year later that things got, well weirder:
In 2005, Preeti was arrested for hiring a contract killer to murder Bhandarkar. She was to pay Rs 75,000 to Naresh Pardeshi, the associate of infamous Mumbai don Arun Gawli to kill the filmmaker. Reports suggest that the model demanded her money back because the execution failed to take place. When Gawli was made aware of this, he instructed his lawyer to file a complaint against her at the Agripada police station.
She had paid Rs 45,000 of the total amount when she was caught approaching the Akhil Bhartiya Sena to get back her money. It was reported that the weapons were obtained from Lucknow. Jain had provided a picture of Bhandarkar and his close friend Ashok Pandit, who was also a witness in the case.
The rape case was cited as one of the reasons why she wanted the filmmaker dead. After a week long probe, the police arrested her while she was on her way to the Versova Police station and detained Pardeshi. A third person, Shivram Das, was also arrested for helping to arrange the weapons and shooters.
The initial trial began at a fast-track court in Sewri, which shut down, and consequently, the case was transferred to the sessions court. She was awarded a three-year imprisonment and found guilty of conspiracy, aiding and abetting crime.