Rubina Ali and her father, Rafiq Qureshi, have spoken out together for the first time since accusations surfaced in a British tabloid that Qureshi was interested in selling his daughter in an illegal adoption to journalists posing as a wealthy couple from Dubai.
“I talked to them in the room,” Ali told CNN of the meeting, conducted by undercover News of the World journalists. “My dad said I could meet people if I want to, ‘But I will never give my daughter away for any amount of money.’”
Qureshi admitted he met with a supposed wealthy couple from Dubai — who were actually imposters hired by British tabloid News of the World — but reports have claimed he misunderstood what was happening because he does not speak English well.
Undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, however, defended his story to Larry King on “Larry King Live.”
“It’s completely untrue…. We have seven hours of tape,” the journalist told King. “It’s indisputable. Nothing gets in the News of the World newspaper unless it is 100 percent [true] and this is.”
And News of the World released a new videotape allegedly showing Rafiq and his brother, negotiating Ali’s sale. The tape however, has no sound.
“The reason there is no audio on the section we put out on the Internet is because the conversation was in Urdu,” Mahmood explained to Larry. “I received information from somebody very close to Rafiq about a month ago that he was interested in selling his child. All we did was investigate that and the allegations that were made to me.”
But the police claim there is “no evidence of any offense,” and after questioning Rafiq, they did not arrest him. An investigation is reportedly still ongoing, police told the Associated Press.
Ali’s “Slumdog” co-star, Anil Kapoor, who was honored last night at the 7th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, is returning to India soon and plans to get the real story from Rubina herself.
He has not seen the children since the Oscars.
“Anything connected with the children now is speculative you know,” he said about the stories that have surfaced, which he said he has not yet read.
“You never know what is the truth and what is not the truth,” he added.
But Kapoor did say his fellow castmates were worried from the start about what would happen with the kids following the movie’s release.
“That’s the worry we always had,” he told Access. “When we all of us were discussing it I said, you know, when they are exposed to this kind of limelight, [there are] going to be disadvantages.”