In 2003, as a witness in the Bharat Shah case, she testified against the Indian mafia. Bharat Shah, the financer of one of her movies, ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’, was arrested in 2000 for having connections with Chhota Shakeel Unlike several of her colleagues; Zinta repeated in court her earlier statement that she had received extortion threats from the mafia during the shooting of the film. After her testimony, she was given witness protection and was forced to stay out of the public eye for two months. Thirteen other witnesses before her, including celebrities Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan, were witnesses in the case but later retracted their earlier statements. Consequently, she was the first recipient of Godfrey`s Mind of Steel Award at the annual Red and White Bravery Awards, given to her for the "Courageous Act" of standing against the Mumbai Underworld.
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