Firm pays Akashdeep Saigal with fake Swiss watches

Akashdeep Saigal, who attended a product launch, claims the firm gave a Rs 4,000 fake Omega watch as payment

A private firm allegedly presented two Omega knockoffs to television actor Akashdeep Saigal as payment for an appearance at its promotional event. The “fake watches” were given to him last year,but he filed a police complaint only this month after his attempts to make the company, Lotus Refineries Pvt Ltd, pay up failed.

The Versova police are investigating the claims, which the Mumbaibased company has termed false. Saigal, 38, has acted in TV serials Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kuchh Is Tarah ,and has also appeared in a few reality shows, including Bigg Boss.

According to his complaint, on April 10 last year, he made an appearance at a product launch by Lotus Refineries, which sells edible oil, at Tulip Star. The company offered the actor a Swiss luxury watch worth Rs 2 lakh — the sum he charged for public appearances then — instead of a formal payment.

“They offered me a new Omega watch, and I accepted the offer as I did not sense any ulterior motives,” Saigal has said, adding that a company representative later presented him an Omega Gold Ladymatic. Saigal began to doubt the watch’s authenticity after he learnt that an Omega Gold Ladymatic costs around Rs 16 lakh.

“Sensing something foul, I sent the said watch to an authorised Omega showroom, which revealed that the watch was merely a cheap copy of the original and its value was not more than Rs 4,000,” he has said in his complaint.

“I was shocked; I could have never imagined that a company of such a high standing would seek to cheat me.”

Saigal claims he confronted Lotus Refineries officials, who apologised and promised to send a replacement, a genuine Omega. On April 13, 2012, he received the second watch,which he again sent to a store to verify if it was real. “The second watch was also fake,” he said.

A few months later, the actor sent a legal notice to the company, but got no response. Finally, he decided to file a complaint at the Versova police station, said his lawyer, Rizwan Siddiqui.

Saigal has also claimed that the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s son, Rahul, and Rahul’s wife also attended the April 2012 event and they, too, were presented with Swiss knock-offs.

Arun Sharma, chairman and managing director of Lotus Refineries, termed the allegations false. “I have already replied to the notice. I never invited Saigal or anyone else for the event. If anything has gone wrong, it is between the PR agency and the actors,” he said, adding that Saigal had levelled the charges to gain publicity.

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