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Preity knight enters frame

Preity Zinta

Mumbai, June 30: An American relative of an Australian cricketer could be a key witness in Preity Zinta’s police case alleging former boyfriend Ness Wadia outraged her modesty during an IPL match on May 30.

The police are keen to get the statement of Gene Goodenough who, sources said, nearly got into fisticuffs with the Bombay Dyeing scion that evening.

“Preity has said Goodenough pushed against Ness’s chest with both hands and asked him to stay away from her if he didn’t want to get thrashed,” said an officer who was present at Preity’s meeting with the police commissioner this afternoon.

Preity and Goodenough are good friends, the police say. “We have emailed him to appear as a witness. Preity has listed him as an additional witness,” the officer said.

Goodenough had dropped Preity home that night, say officers and Danish Merchant, Preity’s neighbour and a listed witness.

“About 40 minutes after the match began, Wadia came and started screaming because he couldn’t find a seat for his mother. He said, ‘What the hell do you think of yourself?’” Merchant has said in his police statement.

He said Ness then mouthed expletives and told Preity “You have shown your class” before leaving.

The police are also trying to contact an Australian couple whom Preity has listed as witnesses. “They are parents of an IPL cricketer,” the police source said.

A second list of witnesses Preity has given the police carries the names of the promoter of a media house and a film publicist.

The police are likely to summon Ness for questioning only after recording the statements of these witnesses. Ness, sources say, is consulting lawyer Ram Jethmalani.