Swastika Mukherjee — who is making her Bollywood debut opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy — has been accused of shoplifting.
The actress was caught by security cameras admiring a pair of gold earrings at a reputed jewellery showroom in Singapore. Soon the earrings went missing.
Swastika was in Singapore to attend the Bengali film festival, Darpan. The incident has left prominent members of the Bengali film industry red-faced, most of whom were attending the festival there.
The theft was reported on Saturday afternoon after the actress had gone shopping for jewellery along with her friend, Bengali film director Suman Mukopadhyay.
The CCTV cameras caught her picking up a pair of gold earrings, admiring it and then the earrings vanished. She didn’t pay for the earrings at the counter. It has been alleged that she had tucked them in her handbag.
Though Swastika claimed to have receipts for all her purchases at the store, she hasn’t been able to produce a receipt for the gold earrings.
Singapore has very strict laws against shoplifting. If convicted, the actress faces more than 10 years in jail. Shoplifting an item worth less than $45 carries a term of three months in jail.
The owners of the jewellery showroom have not yet reported the incident to the police but have officially informed the festival organisers because they had invited Swastika as a delegate.
Arindam Sil, one of the organisers of the event, confirmed having received a complaint from the owners of the jewellery store.
Sources said that the actress has been asked to return the jewellery to avoid further harassment.
The owner of the shop has confirmed reporting about the incident to the festival organisers. Sources said that the shop owners have threatened punitive and police action unless the gold earrings are returned immediately.
“Our CCTV cameras have caught her holding the piece of jewellery. It was last seen in her hands. She hasn’t paid for them. We have already appealed to her to pay up. It just costs $250 (approx INR 15K). We are waiting for a response from her. We don’t want to make a hue and cry about it but we want her to return our jewellery if she doesn’t wish to buy it,” said the owner of the jewellery store, Apsara Oswal.
Swastika on her side, claimed that the earrings might have slipped into her bag ‘accidentally’. She also claimed that she has bought a piece of jewellery from the store.
“If something got into my bag, it was an accident. I have bought jewellery from the shop and paid for it too. Nobody has contacted me regarding this,” the actress said in her defence to the media.
Last heard from sources, the actress will return the jewellery and will proceed on a holiday to Bali, Indonesia.
She is expected to return to India at least after a week.
Dibakar Banerjee, who’s introducing her in Bollywood, is yet to respond to the incident.
The actress is not new to controversies. She is a darling of gossip columns in Kolkata.
A couple of months back, she was in the news for an alleged suicide attempt. She had later denied that she had tried to commit suicide.
The actress was also involved in a high-profile domestic violence case that she filed against her husband who is the son of a legendary singer in West Bengal.
They have a teenage daughter.
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