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Above: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (file picture). Photo: UNI

Off the hook in a case where Indian World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was put in the dock for posing as a god not too long back, the superstar wicketkeeper-batsman has again been embroiled in a case, this time on endorsements and in a conflict of interest issue.

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to Dhoni where he had appeared in ads for two competing gym and fitness brands at the same time. The court was reacting to a petition to prevent him from endorsing more than one brand of the same category.

The two brands that Dhoni has endorsed are Fit7, a gym and fitness brand. He has also endorsed Sportsfit World Private Limited (SWPL). The court, has interfered and has sought explanations from Fit7, Sportsfit owners as well as Dhoni. This matter comes up for hearing on September 13.

The petitioner, Vikas Arora, is a 33 per cent stakeholder in SWPL. He has said in his petition that all directors of the company have decided to go to court against Dhoni for breach of endorsement agreement.

Arora, who has invested Rs 22 crores into SWPL, said due to differences with 65 per cent majority stakeholders — Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited and Rhiti MSD Alamode Private Limited — he has agreed to exit SWPL at predetermined price.

This does not remain in the civil suit domain, Arora says he has instituted criminal proceedings against Dhoni at the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said in his petition: “The breach of the agreement committed by respondent no. 1 (Dhoni) will cause great prejudice to respondent no. 4 (SWPL) and prevent it from optimally utilizing the benefits there under.”

There are issues in this petition, though. There are reports which indicate that the claim that all directors have agreed to sue Dhoni may not be correct. One of the co-directors has called this petition “frivolous” and has dismissed it as not even maintainable in court.

—India Legal Bureau

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