A court in southern India has issued an arrest warrant for one-day international captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni over a magazine cover depicting him as a Hindu god.
The court in Andhra Pradesh state granted the non-bailable warrant Friday saying Dhoni failed to answer repeated summons in the case, brought by a Hindu nationalist accusing him of hurting religious sentiments.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) member filed the complaint in 2013 after Business Today magazine ran a drawing portraying Dhoni as Hindu god Vishnu holding various products representing his wide-ranging endorsement deals.
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“Dhoni was depicted as holding shoes, Lays chips, Pepsi,” Gopal Rao, a lawyer for petitioner Yerraguntla Shyamsundar, told AFP. “Mr. Shyamsundar filed a case as it hurt sentiments of Hindus.
“The court took a serious view of (his) absence and issued the warrants.”
However, Dhoni’s manager denied receiving any summons.
“Dhoni was never served with the summons at home nor received. I am very surprised that warrants have been issued,” Arun Pandey told AFP.
The next date of hearing has been scheduled for February 25, a week before the T20 World Cup in India.
The Supreme Court in 2014 had stayed criminal proceedings against the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman, who is currently in Australia to play in a series of limited-over international matches.