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Arrest sword on Shilpa father

Ahmedabad, June 17 (PTI): The arrest of actress Shilpa Shetty’s father in an extortion case appears imminent with Gujarat High Court rejecting his anticipatory bail plea.

Justice D.H. Vaghela turned down Surendra Shetty’s plea today and refused to extend the interim bail granted earlier.

Surendra, facing arrest in an extortion case registered against him and two others by Umra police in Surat, had been granted interim bail on June 3. But he was told not to leave the country.

Surendra has been accused of taking underworld help to recover Rs 80 lakh allegedly owed to Shilpa by the owner of Prafful Sarees, Pankaj Agarwal, for an advertisement done in 1998.

Police claim they have records of telephone conversations Surendra and wife Sunanda had with Agarwal, in which the latter was threatened and told to pay up.

This is Surendra’s second bail plea. Earlier, a Surat court had rejected his bail plea saying there was prima facie evidence against the actress’ father. Umra police had registered a case against Surendra, Sunanda and the gangster whom they allegedly turned to.

Surendra denied links with the underworld, saying he had not indulged in extortion to recover Shilpa’s dues. He disputed the taped conversations with Agarwal, saying they were fabricated or manipulated.

The police said Shilpa had done the advertisement campaign for the sari brand for Rs 4 lakh. The campaign was to run for a year but was aired until 2002. The Shettys said Agarwal’s arrears came to Rs 80 lakh, but the sari owner disputed this and said he would not pay up.

Surendra and Sunanda had obtained transit bail from a Mumbai sessions court which directed them to seek regular bail from the Surat court on May 28 and June 12 respectively. Sunanda was arrested in Mumbai on May 30 on arriving from Dubai and granted bail.

Surendra and Sunanda both moved the Surat court for bail, but the former’s bail plea was rejected. A few days later, Surendra moved Gujarat High Court for anticipatory bail and was granted interim relief.

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