The father of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE star RUBINA ALI has been arrested by cops investigating allegations he tried to sell his young daughter for $300,000 (£200,000).
Rafiq Qureshi, 36, was caught as part of a sting by British newspaper the News of the World, allegedly offering the nine year old to the highest bidder.
Qureshi was approached at his home in Mumbai, India by an undercover reporter, who claimed he was acting on behalf of a wealthy Arab sheik, who wanted to adopt the child.
Qureshi told the journalist, "We are considering Rubina's future. Obviously if you wanted to adopt we could discuss this, but her parents would also expect some proper compensation in return. We are talking of around £50,000 for this to happen."
But, in a further call, he allegedly told the reporter he planned to sell his daughter to the highest bidder - and expected $300,000 (£200,000) from the sale.
On Monday (20Apr09) Qureshi denied the allegations, insisting his daughter means more to him "than life itself".
But he has been arrested and quizzed for several hours by police in Mumbai, amid claims from Rubina's mother Khurshida that she knew about the sale two weeks ago.
Khurshida, who abandoned the family in 2001, says, "My elder daughter had informed me... I did not believe he would actually go through with it."
A police spokesperson tells British newspaper The Sun, "Khurshida was very upset by the media reports and she came to lodge a complaint. We are registering her grievance and then we'll investigate and decide what further steps should be taken in the matter.
"When we questioned Rubina she said she does not want to go anywhere and wants to live with her father."
Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire producer Christian Colson has revealed movie bosses are attempting to intervene in the scandal.
He says, "Our friends and colleagues in Mumbai are trying to speak with Mr Qureshi to get to the bottom of what happened."