April 22, 2009 / 11:43 AM / 11 years ago

Indian police clear "Slumdog" child star's father

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian police said on Wednesday they had no evidence to suggest that the father of a child star in the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” tried to sell his daughter.

Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali (L), actors in the film "Slumdog Millionaire", display outfits designed by Ashima Leena during a fashion show on the second day of India Fashion Week in New Delhi March 19, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The mother of 9-year-old Rubina Ali demanded an investigation after a sting operation by a British tabloid alleged her father tried to sell her for 200,000 pounds ($290,000).

Rubina’s father, Rafiq Qureshi, and other slum dwellers were subsequently questioned by police.

“So far there is no evidence of any offence, hence there is no registration of complaint and no arrest,” Nisar Tamboli, a senior police officer, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Rubina, who starred as the youngest incarnation of the film’s heroine, Latika, lives with her father and stepmother in a teeming slum in the suburbs of the financial hub.

Rubina’s father had denied to the media that he was trying to sell her.

The sting operation by the News of the World quickly made headlines in India and abroad.

Slumdog Millionaire, a rags-to-riches romance about a slum boy competing on a TV game show, won eight Academy Awards earlier this year.

In the lead-up to the Oscars, the success of “Slumdog” around the globe was overshadowed by objections in India to its name, which some Indians found offensive, its depiction of the lives of impoverished Indians and the treatment of the cast.

But since the film’s sweep of Oscars, India’s media got caught in a patriotic frenzy and politicians jumped on the bandwagon to praise the film.

This week, a charitable trust from Qatar, offered to pay for Rubina’s education, which is already being taken care off by the producers of the film.

The family said they were willing to accept help, although Rubina’s education was already being sponsored.

Writing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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