NEW DELHI, April 20, 2009 -- The father of Rubina Ali, one of the child stars in the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire," was questioned by police today for allegedly trying to cash in on his daughter's success by selling her to a family in the Middle East.
Mumbai police questioned Rafiq Qureshi after his ex-wife, Rubina's mother Khurshid, complained to authorities about local news reports that Qureshi was caught in a sting operation by U.K. tabloid News of the World. Qureshi has not been arrested.
While Qureshi spoke to police at the local police station in Mumbai, his current wife, Mina Qureshi, told ABC News from the family's home that she was confused by the affair.
Mina Qureshi said she is not aware of exactly what happened but said Qureshi and Rubina, 9, went to a hotel to meet someone who was offering to raise Rubina and give her a good education.
The News of the World claims the person Qureshi met was an undercover reporter posing as a sheik from the Middle East and who offered to buy Rubina and provide her with a better life. A report on the News of the World Web site said Qureshi tried to sell his Rubina for about $290,000.
Mina Qureshi said her husband told the man he could not possibly sell his daughter and said, "I cannot part with my blood."
ABC News could not confirm how the undercover sting operation was conducted or even in what language it was conducted in.
'Let My Father Come Home!'
The News of the World claimed it received a tip that Qureshi was trying to sell Rubina while her name was still well-known from the "Slumdog's" success.
Qureshi's ex-wife complained to police after she saw television new reports of the alleged attempted sale and asked them to investigate.
"Rubina's mother, Khurshid, complained to us that her ex-husband was trying to sell her daughter, saying she saw some reports on television to that effect," Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli told Reuters.
One neighbor to the family, Sohal Quresh, said, "It's all false, and they're trying to make these things up, and it's not true."
Rubina herself could be heard yelling in the background, "Let my father come home!"
Undercover Sting Operation
Rubina was raised in the Garib Nagar slum in Bandra, just north of India's financial capital Mumbai. She lives in a tiny one-room shack located between train tracks and a landfill.
Indian newspapers ran front page stories on Monday after news broke about the undercover sting operation. The Times of India reported that both Rubina -- who played the young Latika in the movie -- and her father denied the news to police.
"My father loves me, and will not sell me," Rubina told the Times of India. "I did go to the hotel to meet the couple who wanted to see me and adopt me, but my father refused the offer."
Qureshi added: "Why will I want to sell my daughter? I have brought her up despite my financial problems. I also want to clarify that I did not ask for any money -- they kept bringing up the topic every now and then."
"Slumdog Millionaire" received critical praise in India, but many people living in the slums protested against it, saying the phrase "Slumdog" was offensive.
The filmmakers have said that they are providing the film's child actors with education and housing, but the their families have complained that they have yet to receive any benefits.