"I was being bullied. I was angry, but I was not drunk," superstar Shah Rukh Khan has said, finally speaking about his fight last night with Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials at the Wankhede stadium. He says he is owed an apology. The MCA, which has a different story to tell, has banned the actor from the stadium and has said in a police complaint that he was drunk and misbehaved with and manhandled guards and that he even abused a woman. Shah Rukh admits he used abusive language, but says he was provoked to. He categorically denies that he abused a woman fan, or that he manhandled or pushed anyone.
The actor in fact says his children were "physically manhandled in the name of security," and he will file a written complaint against the MCA, which, he says, needs a lesson in polite behavior.
Shah Rukh Khan said he had not attended Wednesday's match at the stadium, which his IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, won against the Mumbai Indians. He recounted that he only went to the stadium to pick up his children and saw that stadium officials "were pushing, touching little girls, and that is unpardonable."
The popular actor was also dismissive about the MCA's ban saying "I would not like to go to a stadium where people behave so highhandedly." "I took little children for the match and 40 grown-up people came charging aggressively at me," he said. "I think my behavior is absolutely correct. I would still do the same thing if they misbehaved with my kids or kids that I am taking care of," the actor said. He says he only drinks socially and was not drunk.
The MCA, which administers the Wankhede stadium, is holding its ground. The association has alleged that the actor tried to force his way onto the grounds after the match and when he was prevented from doing so, got abusive and pushed people. An MCA official Nitin Dalal accused Shah Rukh of making "false statements and using his children to gain sympathy." The cricket association has filed its complaint against the actor under Section 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and Section 506 (Criminal intimidation) of the IPC. Earlier in the day, MCA treasurer Ravi Savant said, "We have decided to ban him for life from entering the stadium in future...SRK was dead drunk, our security tried to stop him but he pushed him and abused in such filthy language that I cannot use it here."
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla is now expected to broker peace. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was officially informed about the incident only this evening. Earlier in the day Mr Shukla said reports of the ban on Shah Rukh were incorrect. He said a decision had yet to be taken, and that the version of "the franchisee" would also be considered. There are no other matches scheduled for KKR at the Wankhede Stadium for the rest of the tournament.
The Mumbai Police say they are verifying facts in the complaint that the MCA has filed against Shah Rukh Khan and associates like the Morani brothers and others. ACP Iqbal Sheikh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, who was at the Wankhede last evening, said the actor, who smelt of alcohol, seemed to have taken umbrage at some members of his entourage being told not to be on the ground. The cop also said that smelling of alcohol was not an offence and he was sure the actor had not been drinking at the stadium.
ACP Iqbal said he arrived at the site of the scuffle late and had whisked away the actor to defuse the situation. Shah Rukh, he said, was shouting abuses as he was pulled away. "There was a heated argument...only foul language was used," he said. The police said they would call the actor in only if required, but a team did visit his Mumbai home, Mannat.
The actor has been caught in controversy before when he was seen smoking on April 8 at the Sawai Man Singh in Jaipur much to the disapproval of many. This is also the second brawl that the actor has allegedly been involved in in recent times. Some months ago he was reported to have got into a scuffle with Shirish Kunder, the husband of director Farah Khan at a private party hosted by Sanjay Dutt in Mumbai.
The Shah Rukh controversy also comes very soon after the cash-rich T-20 tournament was rocked by a sting operation conducted by a TV news channel, in which five IPL players were purportedly caught on camera indulging in spot-fixing and other "murky deals." A BCCI inquiry into that will begin today. Ravi Sawani, who heads the BCCI's anti-corruption unit will conduct the inquiry.
The five accused players have been suspended pending the inquiry report.