Saif Ali Khan was on Wednesday night arrested and released by the police on bail after being charged with assaulting an NRI businessman who protested the raucous chatter of the Bollywood actor and his friends in a restaurant at a luxury hotel on Tuesday midnight.
The 41-year-old actor and his two friends were booked under sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intent) of IPC for assaulting a South African businessman of Indian origin Iqbal Sharma at 'Wasabi', a Japanese restaurant at the Taj Hotel.
Khan, however, claimed innocence saying the charge against him was "false" and that it was he who was assaulted and the ladies with him abused.
The actor and his two accused friends in their statement recorded by the police blamed Sharma for starting the fracas, according to the Mahesh Vaswani, the lawyer for Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi, who were charged along with Khan.
"There was an ugly incident last night where my friend and the ladies with us were abused and I was assaulted. I was hit and I was only defending myself," Khan said in a statement, adding "I don't think any gentleman would have behaved any differently than what I did."
"I am confident that justice will be done. I think they (police) have the CCTV footage from the restaurant and that will prove everything. I have seen the interviews given by them (victim) and they look like decent people. I cannot believe that the same people were so aggressive the night before and the lies that they are saying about me with such straight faces," the actor said.
Khan, Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi were brought to the Colaba police station around 8 PM in a police vehicle and whisked inside through the rear entrance amid a large media and public presence.
All three were let off on bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 each after completion of formalities that took nearly two hours, according to police.
According to sources, Khan had left his lawyer's office at Gamdevi in his own car but boarded the police vehicle near Nariman Point where he and others were arrested before being brought to the police station.
Since the actor was booked under lighter, bailable sections of the penal law, he was granted bail by the police instead of having to approach a court.
There was huge security bandobust at the police station which was out of bounds for the media.
The brawl broke out a little past midnight when Sharma, seated along with his family at a table adjacent to that occupied by Khan, his companion actress Kareena Kapoor and others, complained to the hotel management about their noisy chatter.
According to the complaint, the actor accosted Sharma near the staircase at the entrance of the restaurant and after some heated arguments, punched him on the nose, causing a fracture.
If convicted, Saif and others could be punished with imprisonment upto seven years besides fine.
Sharma, who is the former Director General and CEO of trade, industry and investment of South Africa, alleged that even his 68-year-old father-in-law who tried to intervene was not spared by Khan and his three friends who rained blows on them.
Sharma, currently Chairman and CEO of ISSAR Company, later went to GT Hospital for a medical examination and reported the matter to the police at around 2.30 on Wednesday morning following which the complaint was registered against the actor.
Khan was present at the restaurant with girlfriend actress Kareena Kapoor, her sister Karishma, actor Arbaaz Khan's wife and item girl Malaika Arora Khan, her sister Amrita Arora and some other male friends, while Sharma's wife and father-in-law accompanied him. Shakeel Ladak is the husband of Amrita.
Sharma said security personnel at the iconic hotel were nowhere to be seen when the incident took place. "Our audacity to complain to the management asking them to keep their voice down perturbed him," Sharma said, adding he would pursue the case to the "full extent of law" and that it was "too late for a compromise to be reached".
"We intend to pursue it to the full extent of the law. The criminal process will take its course and then we will consult our attorney and look at the civil aspect, but we will pursue it to the full extent of law," he said speaking at his Chrysalis Building residence at upscale Juhu.
With inputs from PTI