India news June 3, 2013

Dhoni faces conflict-of-interest question


A controversy has arisen over MS Dhoni's involvement with Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited, the company that manages his commercial interests and those of some other India players such as Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. The company also looks after Chennai Super Kings' marketing.

For a little over one month this year, as admitted by the company, Dhoni owned part of Rhiti, which meant that, at least on paper, he was India captain with a say in the selection of players managed by the company he co-owned and a possible share in the profits that their endorsements yielded. Dhoni was issued the normal category of shares that had been issued to Rhiti Sports' other shareholders, which indicates he was entitled to a proportionate share in the profits.

Rhiti Sports was set up and is run by Dhoni's long-time friend Arun Pandey. By a board resolution dated March 22 this year, a copy of which is with ESPNcricinfo, Rhiti Sports decided to allot 30,000 shares of Rs 10 each to Dhoni, amounting to a 15% stake in the company, along with allotment of 120,000 shares of the same value to Pandey. All along, Dhoni had a potential conflict of interest, with his close friend Pandey managing his endorsements and those of a few cricketers who played under the India and Super Kings captain. With the acquisition of the stake, Dhoni entered into a clear position of being in conflict.

However, according to a statement issued by Rhiti Sports, the shares issued to Dhoni were bought back the following month. "As on date, MSD holds no shareholding in Rhiti Sports Management (P) Ltd," read the statement, signed by Pandey in his capacity as chairman and managing director of the company. "However, it is made clear that shareholding was allotted to MSD on 22.03.2013 only to secure certain old outstandings which were due for more than one year.

"Further, the payments were cleared in April 2013 and the shareholding was transferred back to promoter of the company on 26.04.2013.

"It is made clear that the Management of Rhiti Sports Management (P) Ltd understands its obligations to the field of sport and the country and adheres to the laws of the land."

There has been, however, no documentation so far to support the buying back of shares from Dhoni. Information made available by Rhiti Sports to ESPNcricinfo indicated that the transfer of shares was only a means to "safeguard" Dhoni's money, and the transaction was a part of "routine accounting" that was done on a "day-to-day basis".

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sitaram on June 4, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    Whats all the fuss about conflict of interest. This has alwways existed in cricket in India and it's naive to make such a big deal about it now because of the money involved. Stop this hyseterical nonsense and let's get on with the game. If there is a problem with any laws being broken let the police and the courts do their thing. If you don't like the laws then India is a democracy - vote and change the laws. Dhoni has every right to own a management company and so what if he has some of his players as clients too. He has every right to make as much money as he can while he is able to and has the clout. If this is against a law prosecute him - if not shut up, stop ponticating and let him get on with his thing. Jai Hind!!!!! PS: wait till after we win the Champions Trophy - all sins (perceived or otherwise) will be fogotten and this conflict of interest news will be relegated to the back pages. Sreesanth may even be included in the squad to tour SA :)

  • Jo on June 4, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Folks, take a break. Go njoy a cup of your favourite drink and do some thing else for a week or if possible a month. Come back later. Its high time for Cricket, need out of zone vacation. By doing this, you will help one important thing, avoiding trash pileups.

  • Sam on June 4, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    I am disappointed at those who are unhappy with cricinfo for publishing this. First of all, it is possible to cover BOTH on-field news and relevant off-field news that would be of interest to anyone who follows the game. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. I am equally saddened by those who are appealing to nationalistic sentiments such as "people should not make an issue since our team is in a tournament" and other excuses such as "well, not everyone is perfect since some people don't sign proper house lease" and such. If an issue has ethical implications, it has ethical implications regardless of the nationality and popularity of a player. If we allow situations that allow potential ethical violations based on the "some people do other things that are bad" excuse, you will end up in a society that will be further ripe with corruption.

  • Moe on June 4, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Yeah, the shares were bought back, wink wink. Why do through all the trouble of giving him shares and then buying it back one month later.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    If you watch Cricket you know you can trust MS Dhoni. Period. No matter what team was picked.. India is winning and MSD is highly responsible for that.. Any talk of how Jaddu plays for India over Ojha makes least sense.. Jaddu is an exceptional fielder, handy batsman and a more than just a decent bowler.. It's not like he's keeping out Shane Warne.. Ojha is about as average as anyone.. he is not a permanent fixture and can't ever be.. his fielding and bowling are way below average.. Jaddu wins every little battle there.. There were other articles claiming how Bhajji and RP Singh kept getting chances because they were part of Dhoni's selection and so on.. arguments couldn't get more meaningless.. simply ignore.. it's not worth your time.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Ask a simple question... is the Job getting done... Everyone earns money!!

    Dhoni earns money by playing cricket and each one of us do in our own ways...

    How does it matter when it comes to Cricket?? If you do not get promoted in your office what do you do?? you start looking for a high paying job or start a part time job offer or do something to earn that bit extra... If you are a businessman what do you do if you feel that the money inflow is not up to your expectation... you diversify or you increase your marketing strategy!!

    How different is this?? End of all he still delivers the goods!! As I'm typing this, I see that Dhoni scored a match saving innings of 91 and is out in a practice match.. when India was at 55-5 he enters and his wicket was at 266-6 now do you want him to step down.

    If the people who have written their comments against Dhoni are willing to give up their 2 months Salary just because they work in India and for the country's betterment,I'll stand up and applaud

  • Thomas on June 4, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    When i wrote there is something fishy going on in ipl this site doesnt post it and after some days news broke out... when will cricinfo publish my comments..i wonder!!!

  • Narabavi on June 4, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    Surprise to see there are no Murali Vijay & Nohit Sharma in that list !!!!!

  • Harmon on June 4, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    For some reason, we Indians LOVE to find faults with ourselves, we LOVE to seek punishments for our faults no matter how tiny they may be. We The Indians have this desperate urge to be seen as RIGHTEOUS at any cost, even if it results in huge loss to us. We LOVE to become perfect. We LOVE to become as good as our gods, this is why we are soo quick to deify anyone who is skilled and gets successful but when that same quasi-god fails us in some moment of weakness or extreme pressure or daunting challenges, we are super-quick to denounce that person for not being the god we all wanted him to be. Poor Sachin has seen exactly this and now it is time for MSD.

    We are like, "forget everything else, what you did is wrong and you deserve punishment".

    Paradox is that we have rules that are rigid for others but suitably flexible for ourselves. How many of us sign a "PROPER" House Lease btw?

    Remember Pitch & Weather Info?

  • rraj on June 4, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Great, i found no issue with this article...

    How ever it is necessary for Dhoni or Rhiti sports to clear these doubts that are raised with clear proofs..

    I have received around 6.5 lack rupees from my friend without any security deposits or written anywhere on a piece of paper.., either myself or my friend are billionaires.. i don't think dhoni is such a cheap guy who runs after his friend for just 3lack rupees, in return he got around 15% of shares.. To my best knowledge a company may have all rights to buy back the shares.. but not at their own interest of prices... in such a case how can it would be clear that Mr. Dhoni just got 3 lack rupees on buy back.. ? what are the exact reasons for issuing the shares (complex process) when there are few other simple methods like issueing post dates cheques for the amount they have to give ?

    At the end it shows there is something wrong.., who knows what is the exact process of documentation they did.. or did they done with pre date...