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Bahu baiters lurk in K-family
- Threat calls traced to dialogue writer and bit player

Mumbai, March 26: Reel life intrigue turned frighteningly real for Smriti Irani, the star of Ekta Kapoor's TRP-busting Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, when she began receiving threat calls a fortnight ago.

On Friday, she was shocked to discover that this intrigue was conceived on the sets of the TV serial that has made her a family name.

Irani had on March 15 registered a police complaint claiming that an unidentified male voice had repeatedly threatened her and her two children with dire consequences. After 10 days of surveillance, the police arrested Rekha Modi, a dialogue writer for Balaji Telefilms, and a man identified as Ashok, who played small roles in the K-serials. The accused were produced before Bandra court on Friday and released on bail.

Deputy police commissioner Amitabh Gupta said: 'Professional rivalry was the motive behind the threat calls.'

Irani, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Delhi on a BJP ticket last year, said: 'I am relieved that they have arrested the accused. I haven't seen the face of Ashok, but I am told he did small roles in four or five serials. But Modi was a regular on the sets and would write dialogues for Balaji serials.'

Speaking from her Andheri residence where she was playing Holi with her two children, the television star said: 'I was more worried about my innocent children. I was undeterred by threats and continued working throughout the last two weeks.'

Irani refused to divulge details about the nature of the threats saying it might hamper police investigations.

In an interview to a TV channel last week, Irani was quoted as saying: 'Initially I thought somebody was doing this owing to professional jealousy. But since the last two days, the threats have taken a communal tinge. At first, the words used were very sweet-coated, then they became very harsh and now it has turned so obscene that I cannot repeat it on television.'

This is the second instance of a TV actress receiving threat calls. In 2004, Mona Singh who plays the popular character of Jassi in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, aired on Sony TV, had received calls from a man who claimed he was 'Vicky from Nairobi'. The caller threatened in a typical Mumbai street lingo: 'Hamare liye kam karo, doosron ke liye kaam mat karo, nahin to haath-pair tod denge (Work for us, not for others, or else we'll break your hands and legs).'

The anti-extortion cell of Mumbai police took over the investigation and eventually arrested four people who were also threatening a city doctor for extortion using the same identity ' Vicky from Nairobi.

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