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Relief for MS Dhoni as Supreme Court stays criminal proceedings against him in the Lord Vishnu case

The Supreme Court gave eight weeks time for the petitioners to respond to Dhoni's request for transferring the case to Bangalore.

MS Dhoni India Cricket
Dhoni had sought the transfer of the case from Anantapur to Bangalore

Adding to the delight of leading India to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match T20 series between India and Australia, MS Dhoni was greeted with news from back home that the honourable supreme Court has stayed criminal proceedings against him in the case relating to the Indian cricketer portraying himself in the image of Lord Vishnu for the front cover of a leading magazine, NDTV Sports reports. 

Dhoni’s troubles relating to the matter dates back initially to 2013 when a case was registered by Choori Khan, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of a local court in Bangalore, under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) along with 34 of the Indian Penal Code on a complaint filed by social activist Jayakumar Hiremath.

The picture had appeared on the cover of the April 2013 edition of the Business Today magazine with the subtitle “God of Big Deals” relating to Dhoni’s success as an advertising brand. Further trouble ensued as a local court in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh issued an arrest warrant against the popular cricketer in 2014 after Yerraguntla Shyam Sundar, a local leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had filed a petition in the court in February alleging that the cricketer hurt the sentiments of Hindus by denigrating a Hindu god.

Matters only worsened for Dhoni with another court, this time from Seemandra, Vijaywada issuing a non-bailable arrest warrant, as well as ordering India’s limited overs skipper to be present in court on February 25 to explain his stance on the matter.

Dhoni’s lawyers, however, sounded confident that they had nothing to be worried about. 

“Mahendra Singh Dhoni has the utmost respect for the judiciary but the fact of the matter is that he has personally never received any summons with respect to the present case; therefore the order appears to be erroneous,” Dhoni’s lawyer had said in a statement issued by Rhiti Sports, the company managing Dhoni. 

“Even as such, proceedings in a similar matter pending before the Hon’ble District Court of Bengaluru, Karnataka has already been stayed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. In this matter, accordingly we will approach the courts and seek appropriate directions thereto,” he added.

Those wishes have been granted now with India’s apex court responding to Dhoni’s petition seeking transfer of the criminal case from Anantapur to Bangalore. The bench also sought responses from YS Sundar and the state police regarding the transfer request and issued a stay order on any criminal proceedings against Dhoni for at least eight weeks. 

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