How a letter from Sachin Tendulkar helped Indian cricket superfan escape heavy fine
Sudhir Gautam found himself in a spot of bother with New Zealand Customs officials.
Earlier this week, Indian cricket team superfan Sudhir Gautam found himself in a spot of bother with New Zealand Customs officials because he was carrying bottles which had paint in them. According to New Zealand immigration rules, carrying liquids that are made up of organic substances is banned.
Sudhir, who stands out from other cricket fans as he paints his body with the Indian tricolour, was detained by officials at the Auckland airport and was supposedly asked to pay a fine of around Rs. 65,000. He was a worried man as he did not have that much money with him.
According to a NDTV report, Sudhir said: "I was shell-shocked. I pleaded with them that I did not have that much money. I told them that I am a fan of Team India who paints himself in the national colours and goes everywhere. The officials said they understood all that, but rules were rules and they were meant to be followed. They told me that I had broken the law and I had to pay up?"
The Bihar-born fan quickly realised that he had a letter from Sachin Tendulkar, which had helped him get an Australian visa for the 2015 World Cup. He showed the same to the Customs officials and was allowed to go without paying a fine.
"It was then that I showed them the letter that 'Sachin Sir' wrote to me. I show that letter to the embassies whenever I apply for a visa. It worked like magic. They looked at me again and said, 'okay, go ahead'. It was such a relief," he added.
Just last week, Sudhir had faced problems when India played at the WACA. The stadium staff in Perth were unimpressed by the flagpole which he was carrying as it was extendable to a length of two metres.
Here is the letter: