Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan on Thursday denied starting a fight in which he is accused of breaking a man's nose at a luxury hotel in Mumbai, saying he was acting in self-defence.
Khan said the brawl began when his girlfriend, actress Kareena Kapoor, and other companions were verbally abused by fellow diners at the Wasabi Japanese restaurant in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
"There was an ugly incident where my friends and the ladies with us were abused and I was assaulted," Khan told AFP by email, in his first reaction to the incident on Tuesday evening.
"I was hit and I defended myself," he added.
Khan, who was released on bail Wednesday after being charged with voluntarily causing severe hurt, is accused by South African businessman Iqbal Meer Sharma of pushing him and breaking his nose.
Police said Sharma claimed he was punched in the face after a "heated argument" with the actor over allegedly "rowdy and raucous" behaviour by Khan and his friends.
"I have been to the police to answer the requirements of law as I am a law-abiding citizen," Khan said in the email.
"I have seen Sharma's interviews on TV. They look like decent people. I cannot believe how aggressive they were on that night and the lies they are telling about me with such straight faces," he added.
Khan, who has filed a return complaint alleging Sharma started the incident, is one of Bollywood's biggest actors.
He is also a film producer and has recently been putting final touches to his spy-thriller "Agent Vinod", which is set for release next month.
Khan became the new Nawab (Muslim prince) of the former princely state of Pataudi last year after the death of his famous cricketing father Mansur Ali Khan, better known as "Tiger Pataudi".