South Asia

Indian actor Shiney Ahuja released on bail

Actor Shiney Ahuja in Mumbai in October 2009
Image caption Shiney Ahuja maintains he is innocent

Award-winning Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping his maid, has been released on bail.

Ahuja was released a week after the high court in the India's city of Mumbai (Bombay) granted him bail. He had appealed against the sentence.

Ahuja was found guilty by a special court. He has maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

The actor was arrested in June 2009 and charged with rape.

He was granted bail a few months later but the court ordered him to stay away from Mumbai while on bail.

In March, a special fast-track court pronounced Ahuja guilty despite the 20-year-old victim withdrawing her allegation of rape last year.

She said she was told to complain to police by another woman who had got her the job with the actor.

Ahuja is seen as an up-and-coming actor who has made an impression in Bollywood's independent cinema scene.

He has acted in films such as Life in a Metro and Gangster, and worked with a number of leading directors.

He won several awards for his 2003 debut in the critically acclaimed film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.

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