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Dhoni faces conflict-of-interest question

Abhishek Purohit

June 3, 2013

Comments: 82 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina added 73 for the sixth wicket, India v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chennai, December 30, 2012
For one month this year, MS Dhoni owned part of the company that manages India players such as Suresh Raina © BCCI
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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

RSS Feeds: Abhishek Purohit

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sitaram58 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 :)

Posted by GrindAR 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.

Posted by ARad 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.

Posted by m0se 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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

Posted by cricanalyst05 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!!!

Posted by Narabavi on (June 4, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

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

Posted by Harmony111 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?

Posted by rraj_81 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...

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

**** Key questions not asked and not answered *****

Given the length of the article, and the amount of time TV has spent on this issue, it is really surprising that the core questions have not even been asked, let alone be answered. At least, this article should have gone into a bit of depth and analysed the real issues that really matter. Key questions are - (1)How does a stake in the sporting company become a conflict of interest? What are those interests that are under conflict? (2)Is there a legal basis under IPC or BCCI constitution to decide that this is a conflict of interest? (3) If it is a conflict of interest, how serious is it? Is it an offence to be punished or just a process deviation to be corrected (which is already done in this case)? (4) What guidelines does BCCI provide to correct the conflict? Instead of approaching the issue in a systematic manner, the media is creating a ruckus by raising hue and cry over an issue it is not sure about! High time to MOVE ON.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (June 4, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

I think the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. Dhoni as a person and captain is truely wonderful. However there is an obvious conflict of interest here. Rhiti and Dhoni have other combined business interests too like Rhiti MSD Alamode Pvt Ltd and a couple more. Also I really wonder and I think everyone should wonder why Rhiti owed MSD a meagre sum of 0.3 million Rs and had to pass 15% stake to MSD temporarily to cover for it when last year Rhiti's turnover was 630 million. Obvious guess would be that he was actually given the stake and the deal got backtracked when it snowballed. As a big dhoni fan I would really like him to come clean.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

Oh!!! What is happening to "Cricket India"? We hear Corruption everywhere in Indian Cricket, at every level, may be true, partially true or totally false but pretty sad. We hear people arrested, people sacked, people resigning, people keeping silent on corruption at Cricket India (any form of Cricket played in India - either national team or IPL or any renowned tournaments). My kind request as a Cricket loving fan from the Management of Indian Cricket is to eradicate corruptions as well as false news and protect Cricket; a sport loved over billion fans. Indian Cricket has enough and more wealth to protect Cricket not only in India but whole world. At times I have felt they are powerful than ICC (maybe I'm wrong) but for sure Management of Indian Cricket can bring back pride to this sport.

Posted by Pathiyal on (June 4, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

Appreciate the manner in which the article is written (Abhishek definitely not a part of masala media for sure :-). the declaration by Rhiti Sports clearing MS of any stake rather seems to have been made up. MS, as a captain should refrain from all such activities/ positions which generate a conflict of interest with his capacity as the captain of Indian team. We all want to see him in that position for a longer period!!

Posted by Sakthiivel on (June 4, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

There is no conflict of interest., It happens in every business. With that one month period India is just playing IPL. So nothing to bother.

Posted by ShravanNagraj on (June 4, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Hi All,

I think we need to take a step back and avoid falling into the trap of witch-hunting. I personally do not see a conflict of interest here. Its more of a vested interest or a common interest to have a more mild term.

A conflict of interest is where the two roles are directly in conflict of each other for example: being employed by two competing companies.

In this case, if a player is managed by the sports company, it is of no good for either the company or the Indian cricket team if the player fails. On the contrary, if the player does well, it is good for both. So its technically, there is a common benefit but no real conflict.

However, I understand this is an age of very high public scutiny and high expectaions of accountability and transparency. It would make sense to make it mandatory for officials and players in the board to declare all other associations and promise the highest professional conduct while associated with one so there is not detriment to the other.

Posted by satishchandar on (June 4, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

@P.Malhotra: If you go down to the street and need to defend for each and everything, there will be no end to anything.. For a man of Dhoni's stature, he need not respond to any sort of speculation.. For the matter of explanation, Rhiti sports have given more than what was required.. Will the matter be closed out now?

Posted by Sunman81 on (June 4, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

I don't know why this is making the headlines??? The clarification from Rhiti Sports Management doesn't raise any suspicion... non availability of the evidence doesn't make it non-existent... Pls don't target Indian cricket needlessly...

Posted by chaitu_7 on (June 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

Valuation of these shares sold at par needs to be done to ascertain the money involved in this transaction. One can't believe that for an outstanding of just Rs 300K, Dhoni would be so jittery that he would ask/be given a collateral. Also needs to be seen is what events of interest, if any, took place between the period of his holding these shares which would tantamount conflict of interest. Also, conflict of interest would arise only if Dhoni as a captain had something more than a say in selection matters, viz. a vote in selection, which an Indian captain doesn't have. He can recommend but can be overruled by the selectors. There have been instances where a selector has stepped out of a selection committee meeting where he felt his presence would bring in conflict of interest, e.g. discussions on merit of a player related to him.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

@Harmony111

I am a great admirer of Dhoni and what he has done for India. But IMHO, he shouldn't have a say in selection process as there is conflict of interest and he should step down from the captaincy.

I hope the company had bought back shares. But as it has been reported, there is no evidence suggesting that.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 7:46 GMT)

Even though the Cricinfo's article sounds unbiased, the media in general, especially the TV should IMMEDIATELY STOP witch-hunting Indian cricket community. The media is so desparate in this hunt that any fringe piece of information that could remotely look like a controversy is being picked and blown out of proportion. Very silly, childish and irresponsible on the part of media. We know that such negative propaganda can hurt the morale of the team as evident in Rajasthan Royal's loss to Sunrises in the league match and CSK's loss in the finals. Doesn't the media want team India to perform well in the Champion's trophy? We do.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

Conflict of interest is just that.... owning any shares in any controlling organization is clearly a conflict of interest... there is ample proof of him being financially involved in Rithi and there is no evidence provided of him giving up that interest. Unfortunately, giving up that interest does not absolve him of once having such interests.... that is the case in point here.

Posted by P.Malhotra on (June 4, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

The big question is: why has dhoni not spoken up to clear the air? Probably, he wants the media to dig out for themselves and come up with nothing to prove he's had no conflicts of interest but meant only business OR the rot runs deeper! I think in these kind of situations it's best to remain neutral before we pass on our judgement, which by the way is free but still holds value!Let's wait for the media to find out and find out they will.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (June 4, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

@Harmony111: I think you got it slightly wrong. What they are saying is Rhiti sports owed money to Dhoni, there was a delay in paying that, hence they issued shares to Dhoni. These shares were transferred back after the money owed to Dhoni was paid.

Now this whole thing looks so casual. No company issues shares in a hurry like that and then takes them back in a hurry as well (especially those which are not listed and hence saleable shares are not easily available). If at all anything, the owners could have pledged their shares instead until the money was paid, in which case Dhoni would never have become a part owner of that company but this didn't happen.

Secondly, it is very obvious that the promoter of Rhiti sports is a good friend of Dhoni. In which case, there is every chance that Dhoni is offered ownership in this company.

I think, instead of beating around the bush, they should have simply accepted that it was done without knowing the impact of this arrangement.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (June 4, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

@Harmony111 (love the name, BTW!): well said. I find that a good many, possibly the majority, of posters hereabouts read little more than the headline before rushing to express their half-baked & often one-eyed viewpoint. Moreover, there is indeed a need for a final sentence in this article to remove the ambiguity. Perhaps Mr Purohit will provide same?

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Some people had pointed out that other big cricketers too had their own business firms and they are earning from those firms. Well, having a business firm which is in no way related to cricket is different from having a share in a company that manages players's advertisement, which surely is related to the player selection in the Indian team. Becoming the Vice President of Indian cements which is owned by the chief of BCCI definitely matters (as we have already seen how Dhoni rejoined the Test XI after being taken out by the unanimous decision of the selection committee). Having your own restaurants and bars doesn't affect the Indian National team. But having cricket related businesses does definitely influence the game.

Posted by satishchandar on (June 4, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

@yogikanna : Beig captain of Indian team, if Pepsi can use his nameand fame and earn business, why can't he use it himself? Being player of India, many have opened restaurants including Sachin and Ganguly - which will earn them more business because of their fame as player.. Is that also a conflict of interest - inspite of the amount of cash flow..

Posted by yogikanna on (June 4, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

@harmony111 if he lent/invested money to his friend to start this company and got paid back profits, it is still a conflict of interest. Being captain of INdia, he has undue advantage to seek business for this company.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

Well Done Cricinfo for the balanced article... As rightly said by some of our friends, we are only destroying the morale of our cricketers by discussing this as a conflict of interest...

Posted by satishchandar on (June 4, 2013, 5:39 GMT)

@Anand Singh : Why can't a guy be genuine? Emotional quotient and same team things can work more than money mate.. Plus, how about Pepsi and Lays ads with the teammates and also the Kingfisher ads the team members do together.. We can add so and so if we want to create sensationalism.. MSD is a brand.. If Pepsi can use the name of that brand, why not Rhiti? Why should be Rhiti deprieved of using Dhoni's brand value just because they manage CSK marketing? Even if they offered MSD partnership with the company, what is wrong in them going for a better deal whichwill strengthen their relationship with MSD?

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

@satishchandar no the conflict of interest is less regarding to Jharkhand an CSK. We live in a money dominated society and the biggest conflict of interest comes when there is money involved.

Posted by Khushboov on (June 4, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

Possible conflict of interest - is only as per Economic Times, which is TOI of business world. Share transfer as outlined by Rhiti is a normal accounting practice, and not much to fuss about.

Posted by realfan on (June 4, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

so what's the point of conflict of interest here? DHONI had shares of rithi( owned by his friend) he doesn't have it now, and rithi shows documents of showing that those shares are given as a safeguard for the leftover money dhoni had to be given by rithi...... more over these share and bonds or debenture certificates exchange happen among corporate sector and players..... media should stop making a ocean out of small pond.... players deserve their place in team for what they have performed... and all the players in current indian team deserve places....its not like raina or jadeja have not performed...

this kind of incident happened even with anil kumble, sunil gavaskar, ravishatri in the past.....

move over with it media.....

Posted by jiten777 on (June 4, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

Why should we mind someone earning money, Dhone can take his decisions and if it is good for India in cricket than we never mind. If his selection comes good for India than why we should mind that. Jadeja , Raina are the best players and they deserve to be in Indian team ....

Posted by wildcat7 on (June 4, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

I hope we indians are not axing our own foot here... I think we should also be worried about our team and its motivation levels days before a major tournament. Does this have to come up just before the Champions trophy? I am not sure what is it that we are trying to achieve here...

We should be backing our team/captain to perform well, certainly not cast aspersions two days before the tournament kicks off...

Posted by satishchandar on (June 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

What is the definition of conflict of interest?

There is always a conflict of interest in each and everything.. Isn't there conflict of interest as Dhoni is from Jharkand as he has chances to pick Jharkand players in the team? Isn't there conflict of interest that he plays for CSK? Isn't there conflict of interest that there are 4 players together doing the ad for Pepsi? I feel if all these factors don't cause conflict of interest to Dhoni, this share holding in a company of total value of 2 crore can cause that..

I don't mind even if Dhoni owns share in the company..

Posted by Jayseks on (June 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

First of all a big applause to ESPNCricinfo for naming the article as "Dhoni in possible conflict of interest" and not screaming "Another conflict of interest, this time by Indian skipper MSD!!" like many other newspapers and TV channels. Dhoni's connection with Mr. Arun Pandey is very well known for the past several years. In fact there had been programmes in various channels on the rise of Mr. Pandey and his sports management company. Talking about unnecessary things at a time when you are affected is height of immaturity shown by Indian media. I seriously doubt how media can demand people to resign on ethical and moral grounds. To temporarily remain silent is someone's personal choice. You should know to respect someone's temporary silence rather than poking them from all sides to make them talk. To add to this, the company is clearly showing records that MSD is no longer a shareholder. I think it is time for people in India to pray for responsible media!

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

********PLS READ THIS ARTICLE IN FULL***********

If anyone has the time to read the full article esp the bottom section then one would come to know that Dhoni was given those shares as a sort of security for some money he might have lent/invested in this company in the past and that Dhoni held those shares for around a month only after which the shares were bought back by the company mgt.

Therefore, it is not that MSD had these shares in 2010 or in 2011 or in 2012. MSD had those shares for a very short time and only as a collateral for his own money that he might have lent to his friend Mr Pandey or invested in the company.

Cricinfo, I request you to pls feature this comment so that a casual reader is shown the full picture. I also request you to pls highlight the bottom section of your article and pls also add a sentence that is unambiguous.

Posted by VJGS on (June 4, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

To all those who say that MSD purposely selected Raina, Jadeja irrespective of their form only because of their management agency, please understand that Dhoni has always selected these two and not just since March when he got the agency's shares. Raina's selection in ODI's is automatic. Even if he's out of form, he can get a quick 20-30 in the death. Jadeja either contributes with the bat or the ball almost every game. And both are exceptional fielders - the type that MSD prefers. That is also why he persists with Rohit Sharma irrespective of his form or player agency.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 2:26 GMT)

Hramony111: You need to read the last paragraph again. It clearly says that "Information made available by Rhiti Sports to ESPNcricinfo". What does that mean?? That definitely does not mean 'facts/proofs/legal documents shared by Rhiti Sports'. Rhiti sports can make available any number of 'information' without an iota of truth to them. But as long as they are not backed by facts and verifiable proof, these 'information' are just lies to save their biggest benefactor.

I am not saying Dhoni is guilty yet. However, his association with CSK, India Cements and now Rhiti Sports and his position as the captain of Indian Cricket team definitely is going to raise a few eyebrows.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

Conflict of Interest comes more under Ethics and Ethical working in todays world. Though legal terms show diff picture, i strongly feel, that, when unknowingly some one is in Conflict of Interest and once the same is known, he/she should step down from the position. But being an Indian, where Piracy is normal and ETHICS take back seat, I really don't think CONFLICT of INTEREST will hold any good. Its a Conscious decision to be taken by Individual. We find loopholes in our system and not work with system. Feel sorry for current scenario, its Attitude that need to be changed by each one of us and there should be one SUBJECT on ETHICS from our school days, so we all LEARN the importance of ETHICAL WORKING

Posted by Cobra0077 on (June 4, 2013, 1:24 GMT)

I differ with the dated this article is pointing to(I realize they say they have the documents), my reason is that for over 2 years I have been keeping an eye on MSD's profile on Wikipedia and have checked the references that is documented there. One of the items that has been on wiki for a long time is this:"Endorsements

Dhoni signed with Kolkata-based celebrity management company Gameplan Sports in April 2005.[121][122] Currently Dhoni has 20 endorsements, only Shahrukh Khan has more (21).[123] In 2007 Dhoni had 17 endorsements.[124] In July 2010, Dhoni tied up with Rhiti Sports Management and Mindscapes and has been promised a minimum guarantee of Rs 210 crore over the next three years.[125]"

With only one thing about this that has changed in the last month and that is if you try to visit the website listed in the notes #125 at first I got to that website & was immediately redirected to some other website and when tried again was directly redirected to the other site.

Posted by ABShale on (June 4, 2013, 1:10 GMT)

Apologists are claiming that the duration of the conflict of interest - allegedly one month - diminishes its importance or relevance. That's arrant nonsense. A conflict is a conflict is a conflict. If the Indian captain had powers over the selection of players and stood to make financial gain - however small - from those powers through a beneficial shareholding in an entity retaining their services, it doesn't matter if it was for a day, a week or a year: it's still a conflict. Especially if, as alleged, this was not publicly declared at the time. Similarly absurd is the notion that "routine accounting" absolves the Captain of any conflict of interest. IF he was the beneficial shareholder then he stood to make money if he selected players on the books of the company of which he was a beneficial shareholder. Personally I'm a big Dhoni fan but I commend cricinfo for its reporting on the labyrinthine and unedifying tangle between money and sport that is miring so many in controversy.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 1:08 GMT)

Companies do allot "shares" or "debenture certificates", as temporary guarantee, to their consultants / suppliers / bankers, which are taken back, when they are in a position to make the payments. This is a very common corporate practice all over the world.

It functions exactly the same way, bank guarantees are collected, kept, and encashed, if and when there is a default in payment.

It is unfair to throw mud at others , for one's own ignorance; whether the mud-slinging is done by the media or public. Cricinfo did mention that it was just a temporary guarantee fir "something". It is the 'something' part which was not clear.

Full marks to Dhoni, for his "poker faced stony silence" in responding to such ridiculous accusations based on ignorance. The response was very dignified. It enhances his image in my mind.

Posted by ImpartialExpert on (June 4, 2013, 0:55 GMT)

Facts contradicting Dhoni's conflict of interest theory 1. Jadeja has a better first class bowling average than P. Ojha and R.Ashwin and his first class batting average is better than M. Vijay. 2. Harbhajan was preferred to P. Ojha in the Australian test series as Australians had more left handers. 3. S. Raina last played a test match in Aug 2012 4. R.P. Singh last played a test match in Aug 2011 5. S. Raina did not get many matches in 2011 world cup

And many more.

Posted by crickeyt on (June 4, 2013, 0:12 GMT)

To those defending Dhoni and Rhiti nexus as temporary: have a look at the bigger picture. Dhoni and wife Sakshi have equity interests in at least 3 firms of which Rhiti Sports is a part. For example, Dhoni+Sakshi have a 65% stake in Rhiti MSD Alamode Pvt. Ltd., in which Rhiti Sports also has a 5% stake. Rhiti MSD Alamode in turn owns 73% of Sportsfit World Overseas that runs gyms endorsed by Dhoni. He also has a stake in Rhiti MSD-N Motorsport India, which has the same address as Rhiti Sports and lists Dhoni as management. Given the fact that Arun Pandey had formed Rhiti Sports with Dhoni as sole client, is it acceptable that a company inextricably linked to Dhoni's business interests is also managing other players (whose selection has a direct influence on image rights and endorsement incomes for Rhiti MSD Alamode)? In fact, I would say this Cricinfo article is quite limited - with all its resources, one hopes it can do a far more detailed analysis of this web of business conflicts.

Posted by wolf777 on (June 4, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

BCCI president and his son in law owns an IPL franchise, the Captain manages other players' commercial interest. Not too long ago the chairman of the selection committee was also associated with the team. Not only that, the Captain is also a VP in the President's company…conflict of interest? That's the mild term to describe. Here out in Chicago we call such enterprise an 'Outfit'…

Posted by IlMagnifico on (June 4, 2013, 0:07 GMT)

So everyone and their brother is out defending Dhoni as "the shares were only to pay a debt, so it doesn't count", or some such argument.

The real question is, why is/was a firm that represents jadeja, ojha and raina, players who got the most chances in spite of (relatively) lackluster performances, indebted to Dhoni?

Was there some kind of quid pro quo?

THAT, gentlemen, is the real question.

And "it's their private affair" doesn't stand to reason prima facie. There's a reasonable doubt created by this deal.

Now, to be fair to both sides, Cricket.org must feature *this* comment as well.

Posted by bala_chandra on (June 3, 2013, 23:58 GMT)

While cinema has indian censor board for review of content, electronic media seems to have no control over its control management. It will improve authenticity of the news if all that has been verified. Shareholding of any company can be verified easily from the Registrar of Companies.

Posted by babarzia on (June 3, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

are transactions of this type registered with a government or private agency that can independently verify the ownership time line ?

is a dated (or backdated) letter te only proof required for the ownershop timeline ?

Hopefully cric info journalists can verify this information

Posted by haq33 on (June 3, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

Harmony.....yes we all read those paragraphs, especially the one that says no documentation has been provided proving that MSD resold the shares back to the company. Moreover, an investment or holding in a company is the same as alloted shares in that the fortunes of MSD's investment or shares will fluctuate as per the fortunes of the company. So if the company's target players get nice contracts, the company AND MSD win. It doesn't make a difference whether it was shares or any other kind of investment. Nice try though.

Posted by ramz30380 on (June 3, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

This is ridiculous guys! I am shocked and saddened by the fact that we Indians can pounce on information that is no way relevant and make an issue of it. If news channels are doing that to increase their TRP ratings, I surely cant understand why cricinfo has made a coverage of this nonsense. My humble suggestion, as an ardent follower of the website, I would love to see the main point of this discussion - that MSD held the shares for only a month to be highlighted in this article.

Aren't we supposed to talk about the Champions Trophy instead?! We are discussing about the Indian captain's conflict of interest for a period of one month? Raina and SRJ have performed to get India caps. Raina wasnt even in the Test squad against the Aussies and how come people are pointing fingers?

Posted by bard_cacophonix on (June 3, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

Completely misleading headline for a non-issue.

Can ESPN Cricinfo have a separate page for those of us who don't care about such things (you can call it page 3 or "Sports Page" or whatever) where Cricket is the focus?

As for journalistic integrity, I see a number of readers have called for the ambiguity (or equivocation??) to be removed, and I will join their voices.

There are a number of media outlets where I go for "junk food" - let ESPNCricinfo be health food!

Posted by Street_Hawk on (June 3, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

It's pretty evident that Harmony111 is trying his own agenda because he wanted to point casual reader to the bottom section where it says Dhoni was given those shares for a month only. However, he intentionally or unintentionally forgot to mention one key thing written in the bottom section:"There has been, however, no documentation so far to support the buying back of shares from Dhoni by the company"..I would request Cricinfo to feature this article too, so the reader is not biased by Harmony111's featured comment.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (June 3, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Some people here have clearly FAILED to read the complete article and have also not put some research into the matter. According to the current news, Rhiti Sports LTD. have released a statement which was verified by numerous Indian news sources that Dhoni no longer holds any stakes in the company. The money was initially invested was in the form of securities which have now been cleared. I don't know why Cricinfo is making a huge deal out this ? Please do your research people !

Posted by SPKay on (June 3, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

Dhoni's ownership of the shares just seems to be a technical issue and not anything more at this point. But the same agency managing both CSK and Indian players is disturbing, especially since both Dhoni and Srinivasan have a vested interest in one and a lot of influence in the other. Add to CSK people like Gurunath and it does bring up questions on the selections of so many CSK players into the Indian team.

Conflict of interest is not an establishment of guilt, but it is not a free ticket of innocence either.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

30,000 shares of 10 each means shares worth is 3 lac INR. That too as a security from a close friend. Hard to understand why Dhoni would require such kind of a guarantee. Compare it with 11 lac INR fine captain has to go through for slow overate In IPL :).

Posted by Kadiyala05 on (June 3, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

Please go for a captain who has great regards for ethics not just for money and power.........I don't know what state of mind dhoni is in, he plays for BCCI president IPL franchise, holds a key position in BCCI president's bussiness empire and now links with a Sports Management Company...??

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Nice clarification by harmony 111... This is not big issue which cricinfo making...

Posted by Desihungama on (June 3, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

India cricket is all coming crashing down to earth.

Posted by GrindAR on (June 3, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Hello Media, Stop blowing things out of proportion just because you got a run away chance. People wont trust you anymore. Media is a responsible channel/body to inform people with raw information. I dont see that. You guys paint your own things (either convoluted fact, or your own imagination). Kind of sickening with how things pan out. This clearly points out one thing, that is, there are no laid out rules and education to concerned role players about the issues being raised now. You blame BCCI for rushing half cooked establishment with lot of ambiguities in its processes. Probably time to just focus of laying out rules and regulations and atleast educate the people those will be covered under that. Give one time window of opportunity for people who are part of conflict of interests, to choose what they wann keep and what they wanna giveup in order to comply.

Posted by Temuzin on (June 3, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

Why this article? that management company owed some money to Dhoni and allotted shares in lieu of the money till Dhoni's dues were paid. Where is conflict of interest in that? Media is blowing dust in reader's eyes.

Posted by Fan1969 on (June 3, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

The media has known about Dhoni and even other players having stakes in advertising, player management and other businesses.

The media chooses to highlight this only because it thinks it is the right time to raise an issue now that questions about Gurunath, BCCI president and CSK are being raised.

Firstly, Rhiti says they bought back those shares.

Player management companies make 5-15% of the player endorsements. Even if Dhoni had the stake it is just say 15% of 10% of what the player makes. At 1.5% of Jadeja/Raina/RP/Ojha etc. earnings that too before costs is a small figure for Dhoni who makes more than Sachin.

Give the fans a break and let the team concentrate on cricket rather than such insignificant business dealings.

Why does media accept many free tickets for matches, do they have vested interests? Do they write well about certain Mumbai players because they are given favours, good dinners?

Fixing is important and must be cleaned up. This is a trivial issue.

Posted by ARad on (June 3, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Even if Dhoni had only owned the shares as collateral and even if it were only for a month, it still gives the wrong impression so I consider this to be an ill-advised action. BCCI (and other boards) must institute a clear code to prevent anyone who can directly affect the selection of players to have the ability to simultaneously benefit from their selection.

Posted by glen1 on (June 3, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

All this means is from now on there need to be clear rules, and everyone like in the US, needs to hire a lawyer. This is good white collar job creation! Hopefully, the Indian business world is going through a maturation phase, and the easy picking phase is over. However, espncricinfo needs to find better news to report. Further, the Indian team should not bother reading news and concentrate on the work on hand!

Posted by ARad on (June 3, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

I am a fan of Dhoni but such conflicts or interest are unacceptable. We should not allow any such things based on a player's reputation whether it is Dhoni or Kumble (as reported in prior cricinfo articles.) I hope Dhoni will put all the cards on the table and take responsibility of his actions rather than display outrage (about people doubting his integrity) as Kumble did.

Posted by arun25 on (June 3, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

Good article!! Now I understand the hype behind so-so Jadeja.. This is a very serious issue.. Am sure he is not going to perform in Champions trophy, lets see what happens next.. Its all getting really spiced up!!

Posted by thedreamer on (June 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

Can someone please explain in what way will this affect or be detrimental to Team India's performance?

Posted by skorpien on (June 3, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Commendable job by cricinfo staff on their coverage of BCCI corruption and conflict of interest issues without fear or favor. While certain Indian media outlets seem to be biased based on region, politics, hidden agenda etc, it is refreshing to read cricinfo articles that cut through nonsense to report the facts as-is and raise excellent questions. Keep up the wonderful job!

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

Guys.. comon... the media needs just some masala to spice things.. There is a very important tournament beginning on the 6th.. We shouldnt be bothered bout any individuals off the field/personal matters. Look at the man's on field ability and what he has acheived so far for team india... dats the only thing dat counts.. Tomm if india performs badly in this tournament, the media vl not blame for this off the field controversies.. it vl put the blame on these playes itself.. So comon.. we the fans lets cheer the men in blue for glory!!!

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

i don't think that dhoni will be affected by these issues. Bcoz he has not done anything wrong

Posted by 13adarsh on (June 3, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

Very unfortunate for dhoni. The media is having a field day with this! The money earned by dhoni if at all s a result of this "conflict of interest" would have been peanuts compared to his overall income. Not particularly a fan of dhoni but hope he comes out of this mess soon.

Posted by Nathan_a on (June 3, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Rhiti sports have now clarified that MS Dhoni holds no shares ; The share transfer happened only as a guarantee. Can you please publish the clarification.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Has this going to affect Indian team or their performance or cricket in anyway ?? So please dont make every issue big ..

Posted by Sal76 on (June 3, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

This clearly explains why Dhoni has been so vocally supportive of Jadeja and Raina (to a slightly lesser extent than Jadeja). This also explains why Raina and Jadeja have appeared to have a longer leash than any other players in the side who have underperformed. Well, they say, when it rains, it pours. Captain Cool and Calm? Or Captain Hush Hush?

Posted by haq33 on (June 3, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

Ohhhh......so his supposed faith in SRJ (Sir Ravindra Jadeja), leading to his repeated selection under MSD's captaincy, suddenly comes under scrutiny. While many joked that he was being selected purely because of their friendship, the truth seems to have been far more lucrative for MSD.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

Media wants to get to the neck of Dhoni. Pl let him play cricket . And get your facts right. I remember TOI claiming that the majority were against Srinivasan which was not factually right....in fact it was grossly wrong.

Posted by aashrit on (June 3, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

Cmmon Guys! now Please dont distract the focus of captain from champions trophy which we surely are going to win. Also does really dhoni (captaining in all three formats for india) gets time to see all these financial transactions favouring him????????

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Behind Selection of Indian Team!!

Posted by LeftBrain on (June 3, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

There are a lot of revelations regarding interests and conflict of interest by some senior folks in BCCI, and now captain of Indian team. without speculating on any of these developing stories, I am wondering if anybody is looking after interest of the game of cricket and interest of followers and viewers of this sport in India?

Posted by sramesh_74 on (June 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Certain media reports also indicated that RP Singh was also on the roster..things get murkier and murkier...

Comments have now been closed for this article

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