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 while tucking in a pair of gold earrings into her handbag at a top jewellery showroom in Singapore.
Swastika is in Singapore to attend Bengali film festival, Darpan. The incident has left prominent members of the Bengali film industry red-faced, most of whom are attending the festival there.
The theft was reported Saturday after the actress had gone shopping for jewellery along with her friend, Bengali film director Sumon Mukopadhyay. The CCTV cameras caught her picking up a pair of gold earring and putting it in her bag. She didn't pay for the earrings at the cash counter.
Though Swastika claimed to have receipts for all her purchases, 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 items 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 who had invited Swastika as a delegate. Arindom Sil, one of the main 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 to jewellery to avoid further harassment.
The owner of the shop has confirmed reporting about the incident to the media. Sources said that the owners of the jewellery store have threatened punitive and police action unless the gold earrings are returned immediately.
"Our CCTV cameras have caught her lifting the piece of jewellery and then putting it in her handbag. She hasn't paid for it. We have already appealed to her to pay for the item as it costs $250. We are waiting for a response from her. We don't want to make a hue and cry about it. We just want her to return our jewellery to us if she doesn't wish to buy it," said the owner of the jewellery store, Apsara Oswal.
Swastika on her side, has claimed that it might have happened 'accidentally'. "I don't know how it got into my bag. Perhaps it was by accident. But I have bought other jewellery from the store and I have got receipts for it," the actress said in her defense.
Last heard, the actress will be returning the jewellery today and will be quietly making her way back to Kolkata.
Dibakar Banerjee, who's introducing her in Bollywood, is yet to respond to the incident.
The actress is not new to controversies. A couple of months back, she was in the news for an alleged suicide attempt. She has denied that she had tried to commit suicide.
The actress was also involved in a high profile domestic violence case with her husband who also is the son of a legendary singer in West Bengal. The actress has withdrawn the case and is now divorced from her husband. They have a teenage daughter.
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