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Police ‘interview’ Shilpa
Shilpa Shetty No hard feelings

London, Feb. 4: Shilpa Shetty has been “interviewed” by police investigating claims that she was subjected to racial abuse on Celebrity Big Brother, it was reported today.

The investigation is being conducted by Hertfordshire police since this is the county containing the Elstree Studios, where Celebrity Big Brother House was specially constructed.

However, when Hertfordshire police were contacted today by The Telegraph, a spokesperson would only say: “We cannot comment on which contestants have been interviewed. At the end, our report will be sent to the director of public prosecutions.”

Police in Britain are obliged to institute inquiries if a charge of racism is made but it is unclear whether the DPP can bring a prosecution if the alleged victim — in this case Shilpa — chooses not to press charges.

This seems highly unlikely.

Since emerging as the winner, Shilpa has consist-ently taken the line that although she was bullied, Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd, Jo ’Meara and the others were not racist.

Today’s Daily Star Sunday reported: “Bollywood babe Shilpa Shetty has begged police to clear the names of her Big Brother bullies. The 31-year-old pleaded for them during a two-hour interview.”

It said: “Shilpa insisted that, despite footage she had seen since winning the show last Sunday, neither Jade Goody, Jo ’Meara or Danielle Lloyd had been racist towards her.”

The paper said that in a bid to save them from any potential criminal proceedings, Shilpa, who was sitting alongside a top lawyer at the meeting, stressed she did “not want to proceed with any charges against them”.

Shilpa was interviewed at her hotel in London’s West End on Friday. Speaking afterwards, she apparently said: “I just want to do my best to defuse this whole thing and draw a line under it.”

Shilpa’s publicist Max Clifford told the Star: “Shilpa made it clear that she just wants to forgive and forget and move on. She spoke to the police for about two hours and informed them that she did not want to press charges.”

A source at Hertfordshire Police also spoke to the Star and said: “Our inquiries are far from over but I can confirm Ms Shetty has been spoken to. It is likely that all the housemates will be interviewed in the very near future.”

Of the other contestants, Danielle met police officers for three hours at the offices of Schillings, her solicitors in Dean Street, Soho.

According to the Star, she has now “fled the country” — which may mean she has gone abroad for a much-needed break.

The Star is now doing the kind of poll some Indian papers love to do: “Should Sehwag be dropped'”

Instead, it is asking readers: “What do YOU think' Should Shilpa have pressed charges' Comment NOW at Have Your Say.”

As for Jo, the former singer from the S Club, she gave an interview to Sky News, wept profusely, said Celebrity Big Brother should be scrapped and later issued a rambling 900-word statement and claimed she had felt “suicidal” because her life had been destroyed by accusations that she was a racist, which, of course, she wasn’t.

“I feel if this is what a TV show does to people then it shouldn’t be a TV show,” Jo told Sky. “I have got to pick the pieces up or I will end up going mad. I don’t think you can get much lower.”

Jade has quit the Priory clinic, where she was receiving treatment for depression and something called “anger management”. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Jack, is said to be on the rocks because their respective mothers have “fallen out”.

Meanwhile, Shilpa, who has extended her UK visa and appears to be in no hurry to return home, has put out a “Come and meet me” television advertisement on behalf of the Zee Carnival to be held in London from February 16 to 18. This may not please Priyanka Chopra, who was previously going to be the top attraction.

The Labour MP Keith Vaz has invited Shilpa to the House of Commons later this week and a number of other TV and magazine interviews have been lined up for her by Clifford.

There is loose talk that the actor Hugh Grant wants her in one of his films and also that Andrew Lloyd Webber may consider her for a possible revival of his musical, Bombay Dreams, although Shilpa has admitted she only “lip syncs” and does not sing.

If this is how wonderful (and lucrative) life can be, she may well wonder whether it isn’t worth spending more time in the UK — possibly even settling in London.

One thing Shilpa has not done is to show any inclination to take up Vinod Khanna’s offer to join the BJP. “If she has fought racism in Britain, she is hardly likely to join the BJP back in India,” is the common Indian view in Britain.

Meanwhile, a former Celebrity Big Brother contestant, Faria Alam, 40, the Bangladeshi secretary who appeared on the show last year to be quickly evicted, was the victim of a News of the World trap. For £8,000, she was allegedly willing to offer sex as a “hooker”, although when confronted later by the same paper she denied the charge, it was disclosed today.

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