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Pandit returns Miss India-World crown

Our Correspondent in Mumbai | March 31, 2004 19:09 IST
Last Updated: March 31, 2004 20:41 IST

Femina Miss India-World Lakshmi Pandit has returned her crown following allegations that she is married to aspiring model Siddarth Mishra.

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Pandit lives in a rented flat in Malad, a Mumbai suburb. The papers relating to the lease deal state that she is married to Mishra. But Pandit insists she is single.

Only unmarried women are allowed to participate in the Miss India beauty pageant.

The Times Group had on Tuesday appointed a three-member committee to probe the allegations.

Pandit on Wednesday filed an affidavit in a Mumbai court stating that she is not married but made the declaration only to secure accommodation.

Lakshmi admitted that she had 'represented' to the licensor of the rented premises and the sub-registrar to be a married lady 'as it was the only basis on which I could get the said premises on leave and license'.

"I have, however, realised that such incorrect representation made by me has resulted in me putting in a situation affecting my credibility and tarnishing my image," the affidavit said.

She does not want to represent India at the at the Miss World Pageant saying, "I do not rule out the possibility of the panel of judges of the Miss World pageant considering my incorrect statement to be the criteria to disqualify me and thereby affecting the chances of India winning at the contest."

Speaking to mediapersons, Times Infotainment Managing Director A P Parigi said, "This afternoon Ms Laxmi Pandit filed an affidavit with her lawyers and family saying that she is not married. The (inquiry) committee accepted the fact that she is unmarried. However, she told us that she misrepresented facts and postured as a married woman purely to secure accommodation."

But Parigi dismissed reports that Pandit had also lied about her age. A girl should not be older than 24 to be eligible to participate in the pageant.

Asked who will now get the Miss India-World crown, Parigi said, "We will decide later."

With inputs from PTI

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