Saloni Sharma, whose name has been in every debate that television actor Pratyusha Banerjee’s suicide has sparked, decided to break her silence on the string of accusations against her while speaking to TOI on Tuesday evening.
Giving an account of what really transpired between them in the past 10 months, Saloni admitted she assaulted Pratyusha and the actor’s boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh in February, but claimed it was in retaliation after being hit by them first.
On February 11 this year, Saloni, who was Rahul’s girlfriend before Pratyusha, went to the Kandivli apartment where Rahul had recently moved in with the actor. “I was done with them and was trying to move on but it was my money (that she had given Rahul to run an event management firm) I was concerned about. Rahul wasn’t paying me back… It made me angry and I landed there to ask for my dues. On seeing me, Pratyusha and Rahul both assaulted me and physically kicked me out of the flat. I was hysterical and refused to leave the premises. So they came down and that’s when I hit them back out of utter humiliation,” said Saloni, who went on to file a case against Rahul and Pratyusha with the Bangur Nagar police station.
“I later withdrew the charges of assault and cheating because both of them requested me to and I was advised by cops to avoid public attention.” It is the same cops handling the suicide case now, she said. “They are completely aware of what really had happened that evening contrary to what is going around.”
Saloni, who recorded her statement at the Bangur Nagar Police Station on Saturday, said: “The reason I’ve remained quiet all this while is because I was waiting to give my statement to the police and I did not want to seek publicity over someone’s death. At the same time, I’m forced to speak because a lot has been said about me by those who have never met me and know nothing about what went on between Rahul-Pratyusha and me.”
“In fact, I was the one who called the police the very next day after the incident and offered to record my statement or any help they wanted from me because my name had been dragged into the case that same evening and my past was being showcased as the prime cause for the tragedy,” said the television actor willing to fight back the “baseless allegations” that have come from members of her own fraternity.
Saloni, who happened to be Rahul’s girlfriend until last year, has been accused of driving a wedge between Pratyusha and Rahul in the lead up to Pratyusha’s death. “I’ve been called the ‘other’ woman and held responsible for Pratyusha and Rahul’s relationship turning sour but not many know that Rahul and I had been together for five years. Pratyusha came into his life 10 months ago and they started seeing each other without my knowledge,” said Saloni, who had met Rahul in 2011 after she moved from Kolkata to Mumbai to complete her studies and begin a career in acting and modeling. “Rahul had an events management company and wanted me to come on board. Afterwards we launched another company. We started out as business partners and then got into a relationship. Over the years I’ve invested over Rs 30 lakh in the business,” said Saloni adding that “details of all the monetary transactions have been given to the police.”
It was through common friends that Saloni learnt of Rahul and Pratyusha’s relationship. “So I decided to confront him at his Veera Desai Road flat in July. He denied it but Pratyusha who happened to arrive just then asked me to leave him and the company. I left feeling confused and very disturbed. Rahul called me the next day, apologized and wanted me to ignore everything,” said Saloni, adding that she had “no idea” that Rahul was married in the past. “If I knew it, I’d never have been with him.”
“Another month went by and I was in denial about their relationship, until suddenly I saw them declare their marriage plans on television during Pratyusha’s birthday party on August 10,” said Saloni. “I was stunned and landed at his house the next day. Rahul refused to let me in and instead, he called my father asking him to take me away. My father came over and met Rahul, Pratyusha and her parents who were all present at the flat. On being told of their wedding plans, my father informed Pratyusha and her parents of the money he owed us and warned them that Rahul could do the same to their daughter like he had just done to me,” she recalled.