Bollywood's Saif Ali Khan pleads not guilty to assault

MUMBAI (AFP) - Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan appeared in court on Thursday and denied breaking the nose of a South African businessman at a luxury hotel two years ago, a report said.

The alleged incident happened in Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel in February 2012, where the businessmen accused Khan of pushing him and punching him in the face in the Japanese restaurant Wasabi.

"The court today framed charges against Khan and his two friends - Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi - under section 325 (assault) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code," public prosecutor Wajeed Sheikh said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The trio pleaded not guilty after the charges were read out against them in the Mumbai court, PTI said.

The businessman, Mr Iqbal Sharma, said he had only asked the staff to get Khan's table to quieten down, which sparked a heated argument and the alleged assault.

Khan however claimed that Mr Sharma had started the row.

The actor surrendered to police after the brawl and was released on bail.

Khan, married to top Indian actress Kareena Kapoor, is one of Bollywood's biggest actors and the Nawab (Muslim prince) of the former princely state of Pataudi.

His father was famous cricketer Mansur Ali Khan, better known as "Tiger Pataudi".

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