Hyderabad/Nagpur: A local court in Anantapur town of Andhra Pradesh issued a non-bailable warrant against cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday though the manager of the Indian ODI captain denied that summons were served on him.
The case against Dhoni relates to his morphed picture in form of Lord Vishnu on the cover of Business Today magazine in April 2013 (GOD OF BIG DEALS) holding a shoe among other products he was endorsing.
The court ordered Dhoni’s arrest if he does not appear before it on February 25.
Claiming the portrayal of the popular cricketer as a deity hurts Hindu sentiments, Shyam Sunder, a local VHP leader had filed a petition against Dhoni and the newsmagazine in the district court.
The court had in June 2014 issued bailable warrants summoning Dhoni and the magazine editor Chaitanya Kalbag. Business Today was later represented by its advocate in the court.
In 2015, the case shifted to the court of the additional judicial first class magistrate which issued fresh summons in November to Kalbag and Dhoni, said Gopal Rao, the advocate representing Shyamsundar.
“While it is unknown if Kalbag received the summons, an acknowledgment was received from Dhoni. Since he did not appear before the court even after summoned, the court took serious view and has today issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Dhoni,” Rao told.
“The police would have to produce Dhoni in the court on February 25,” said the lawyer.
“I had gone to court as the picture hurt Hindu sentiments. After our revision petition, the court had taken up the matter. The present summons was necessitated as Dhoni never appeared before the court even after accepting the summons issued for him. The court took serious note of this and issued non-bailable warrants on him,” Sunder told TV channels in Anantapur.
Dhoni’s manager, however, said that the cricketer was never served the summons.
“Mahi was never served with the summons. I am very surprised that warrants have been issued. We have referred the matter to our legal. They are taking due action to have the warrants cancelled,” Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s manager told on Friday.