NEW DELHI: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza today refuted media reports that she demanded money to attend the Madhya Pradesh Sports Awards ceremony, saying that she only asked for a private jet to save time.
Sania denied asking for Rs 5 lakh to attend the event in a statement issued by her official agency KWAN.
"We had been directly dealing with the concerned persons in order to facilitate Ms Mirza's visit for the event in which she was very keen to participate. It was to take place in Bhopal on 28th November 2015 and we are well acquainted with the negotiations that were under way," said the statement from KWAN which was tweeted by Sania.
"There was never any demand for an amount of Rs. 5 lakh on this occasion made by the Agency, as suggested by the media reports. As Ms Mirza was already committed to participate in an event in Goa on 29th November and since the commercial flights were taking her 7 hours (including the stop-overs) to fly from Bhopal to Goa, it was practically impossible for her to be physically present for both these events unless she was accorded the facility of a private jet for flying from Bhopal to Goa," it added.
"Hence, the request for a private jet had to be made for just the outgoing flight from Bhopal to ensure that Ms Mirza could honour her commitment in Goa -- a commitment that had been made more than a month ago."
The agency said the reports in newspapers today were damaging to the player.
"The practical impossibility of getting a popular celebrity to be present in 2 different corners of the country within a short span of time sometimes has to be tackled in this unusual manner and we are disappointed at the distasteful, damaging comments being floated against Ms Mirza by certain sections," the statement said.
"It is particularly distressing for the Agency as well as our client since we were given the impression by the negotiating official from Madhya Pradesh that as it was practically impossible for Ms Mirza to attend the event on the 28th, another date would be mutually decided upon for the same event when our client had more time available."