India cricket captain MS Dhoni reportedly has a 15 per cent stake in Rhiti Sports Management Group, owned by his close friend and business associate Arun Pandey.
However, Pandey said the firm had bought back the shares.
“The shareholding was allotted to him on March 22 this year only to secure certain old outstandings, which were due for more than one year. Further, the payments were cleared in April and the shareholding was transferred back to the company’s promoter on April 26,” Pandey said.
However, there is no documentation in support of the shares being returned. Pandey, though, maintained that his company has its obligations to sports. “We at Rhiti Sports are greatly aggrieved at widespread reports regarding alleged conflict of interest of MSD. It is made clear that the management has obligations to the sport and the country,” said Pandey.
Latika Khaneja, who used to manage several cricketers including Virender Sehwag, feels its unethical. “If this story is true then there is a conflict of interest here. You (Dhoni) are the captain of the Indian team and you are making money by managing some players in the team - if these things are happening at the same time, what else do you call it?” she asked.
Moreover, Dhoni has floated entities, partnering Pandey or Rhiti Sports, to initiate business ventures such as image licensing (in March 2012, through Rhiti MSD Alamode Pvt Ltd) and gyms (in February, through Sportsfit World Overseas Pvt Ltd).
Apart from Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Saina Nehwal, Rhiti also manages Dhoni himself, having struck a deal in 2011.