Wednesday, 22 April 2009

This child is special, an Oscar child. So now we want £200k (News of the World)

THE poverty-stricken father of Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali plans to become a millionaire himself-by SELLING his nine-year-old daughter.
In a bid to escape India's real-life slums, Rafiq Qureshi put angel-faced darling of the Oscars Rubina up for adoption, demanding millions of rupees worth Pfund200,000.
As he offered the shocking deal to the News of the World's undercover fake sheik this week, Rafiq declared: "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."
Rafiq tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for SALE.
As he tried to fix the illegal adoption deal, real-life slum dweller Rafiq declared: "We've got nothing out of this film."
Then, almost embarrassed to speak it out loud, he whispered to an accomplice the price tag he has put on his innocent young daughter: "It's Pfund200,000!"
That was an astonishing FOURFOLD increase on his opening demand. But Rafiq's equally demanding brother Mohiuddin insisted: "The child is special now. This is NOT an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!"
Dad Rafiq is desperate to cash in on their nine-year-old's success in the blockbuster film by selling her to the highest bidder.
He sees it as his family's escape route from the notorious Bandra slum sprawl of Mumbai.
Rafiq revealed his scheme to undercover News of the World reporters posing as a wealthy family from Dubai.
We travelled to Mumbai to expose the illegal sale after a tip-off from a concerned close family friend and former neighbour.
Shockingly, this sort of transaction is far from unusual in an impoverished nation where human life comes cheap and children are often treated as a commodity.
Rubina won the hearts of film-lovers around the world playing young Latika in British director Danny Boyle's movie that picked up eight Oscars and a pile of other glittering awards. It tells the rags to riches story of a young man from the slums who wins the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Filmed in Mumbai's seething pauper ghetto it depicts starkly true scenes of poverty and child cruelty, where young orphans are blinded and crippled by Fagin-like thugs and forced to beg on the streets. And with a staggering 11 million children abandoned in India every year, there is no shortage of young prey.
Our informant, now a city tour guide, told us: "Rubina's family are furious that despite the film doing so well and their pretty daughter becoming so famous, they are still living in such rough conditions.
"They were approached by one wealthy Middle Eastern family who saw their plight in an item on Al Jazeera TV. The couple expressed an interest in adopting young Rubina and her parents' eyes lit up.
"Dad Rafiq is streetwise and knows that soon his daughter's success will be forgotten and her moment of fame will be over. He has a family to feed and simply can't
BUY MY DAUGHTER: Father Rafiq (centre) and uncle Rajan More (left) pose with Rubina and our undercover team
afford it. He is keen to find a rich family to bring up Rubina but only if they are willing to help the whole family to get out of the slums.
"The Middle East family were moved to tears by the plight of the young orphans shown in the film and fell in love with Rubina.
"Just as Western stars like Madonna do, they want to adopt children from poor areas and give them a better life.
"This family wanted to take Rubina abroad. They agreed to come to Mumbai to discuss the adoption in May.
"But the approach has made Rafiq very greedy and he has said that he will consider the highest offer for his child. But they realise that the money will soon stop coming in and Rafiq is open to all offers."
Our investigator made contact with Rafiq and said we had heard he was considering having Rubina adopted. He told Rafiq he was acting for a wealthy Arab sheik who wanted to take the youngster to live with him 2,000 miles away in Dubai.
Rafiq replied: "Yes, we are considering Rubina's future.
"Why don't you speak to my brother-in-law, Rajan, and he will discuss it with you? I will ask him to call you."
After contacting us, Rubina's uncle Rajan More - who speaks good English - confirmed: "Yes, we are interested in securing our girl's future.

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