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Dad denies selling Slumdog star

INDIAN police said on Wednesday they had no evidence to suggest the father of a child star in the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" tried to sell his daughter.

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

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

"So far there is no evidence of any offense hence there is no registration of complaint and no arrest," senior police officer Nisar Tamboli said yesterday.

Rubina, who starred as the youngest incarnation of the film's heroine, Latika, lives with her father and stepmother in a teeming slum in Mumbai's suburbs. Qureshi denied he was trying to sell her.

"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.


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