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MS Dhoni Files Criminal Case Against Ex-Business Partners Over Alleged Fraud of Rs 15 Crore

Former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has filed a criminal case in a local court in Ranchi against a company called Aarka Sports Management and two of its directors for allegedly misusing his name and cheating him of Rs 15 crore. The case pertains to an agreement between Dhoni and Aarka Sports to start cricket academies and sports complexes in his name, which was later breached by the company.

According to court records, a complaint was filed on October 17 by Dhoni through one Seemant Lohani, seeking an inquiry under IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating). The complaint stated that Dhoni had signed a letter of authority on May 7, 2017, authorizing Aarka Sports, Mihir Diwakar and Soumya Das to negotiate and execute agreements with third parties for setting up cricket academies and sports complexes in his name. It was agreed that the franchise fees would be paid directly to Dhoni and there would be a 70:30 share in royalty fees.

However, the complaint alleged that Aarka Sports, in collusion with Diwakar and Das, had violated the terms of the agreement and had used Dhoni’s name to open several cricket academies and sports complexes without his consent and knowledge. The complaint also alleged that Aarka Sports had failed to pay the franchise fees and the royalty fees to Dhoni, and had diverted the money to other firms, including those owned by Sakshi Dhoni, Dhoni’s wife.

The complaint further alleged that Aarka Sports had also made false and defamatory statements against Dhoni in the media, linking him to the IPL betting and match-fixing scandal, and had threatened to expose his involvement in the Amrapali scam, in which Dhoni was accused of endorsing a fraudulent real estate company. The complaint claimed that Aarka Sports had caused a loss of more than Rs 15 crore to Dhoni, and had tarnished his reputation and image in the eyes of millions of fans.

On Friday, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Raj Kumar Pandey recorded the statement of one of the witnesses in the case and fixed the next date of hearing as January 20. The court also issued notices to Aarka Sports, Diwakar and Das, asking them to appear before the court and respond to the allegations.

Dhoni’s lawyer Dayanand Singh told The Indian Express that they had sufficient evidence to prove the fraud and the misuse of Dhoni’s name by Aarka Sports and its directors. He said that they had also sent a legal notice to Aarka Sports in August 2021, revoking the letter of authority and demanding the closure of all the cricket academies and sports complexes opened in Dhoni’s name.

Aarka Sports, in its reply to the legal notice, had denied any misuse of the letter of authority and had claimed that it had incurred losses and no profits from the operation of the cricket academies and sports complexes. The company had also denied any involvement in the IPL betting and match-fixing scandal, and had accused Dhoni of making false and baseless allegations.

Dhoni, who retired from international cricket in 2020, is currently the captain of Chennai Super Kings, an IPL franchise. He is also the mentor of the Indian cricket team for the upcoming T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman

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