'Suniel is not a man to take these threats lying down. But when the man threatened to harm his family, Suniel decided to be cautious. Everyone knows his family means the world to him. He decided to wait until the children's summer holidays, packed off his entire family for a prolonged vacation until the end of August, and then decided to take on the man head-on,' said a friend of the actor.
Said Shetty: 'How do such people get a membership card into film associations? The guy who was threatening me was using that card to make money within the industry.'
The stuntman, Puran Chouhan, has been allegedly making threatening calls to the actor over a financial deal with Shetty's Popkorn Entertainment that was called off. The company had hired Chouhan after he said he would obtain permission to shoot on railway premises, but Shetty cancelled his contract when he failed to do so.' The actor admitted that he was a worried man.
'These kinds of threats are not new to me. The industry has been facing one sort of bullying or another since the time Gulshan Kumarji was killed,' Shetty said.
A few years ago, Shetty had received threatening calls from gangsters, who said they would harm his father.
'I had freaked out. Most people keep quiet about such threats for their family's safety. This guy was harassing and threatening me on the phone for some months now. Then when I retaliated, he recorded my angry abuses and used them to threaten me further. I've already let the cops know.'
He added: 'I'm no longer losing sleep because the cops are on the guy's trail and my family is far away and safe.'
Shetty was earlier urged to agree to a compromise with Chouhan, but he refused.
'I was being asked to settle the money that this chap says we owe him for the shooting of Joy Augustine's film for my production house. But there's no way I was going to give in. If I did, this guy would've tried his funny tricks with other producers.'
The Stuntmen's Association of India has, meanwhile, said that it had nothing to do with the dispute.
Rashid Mehta, president of the association, said the deal was a private one and therefore did not concern them.
'Our association fights for the wages and working conditions of stuntmen, and this case does not have either of the two,' Mehta told IANS.
'Besides, as far as our knowledge is concerned, Popkorn Entertainment has paid him all his dues and there is nothing that the company owes to Puran.'
Chauhan has also filed a complaint against Shetty in Delhi, alleging that the actor-producer has been threatening and abusing him.