Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) chief selector, Amit Bhandari, on Monday was assaulted by a group led by a furious Under-23 player. The horrific incident took place during the Delhi senior team's practice game at the St Stephen's ground.
Anuj Dheda, who was not picked in the state team, attacked Bhandari so severely that the chairman of DDCA senior selection committee sustained head and ear injuries and was taken to Sant Paramanand Hospital at Civil Lines by his colleague Sukhvinder Singh. The player as well as the goons flew away before the cops could reach the spot but was arrested later.
"At around 1.15 pm today at St Stephen ground where trials were going on, one person Anuj Dheda, who was not selected, came and asked about his rejection and slapped Bhandari. Some 10-15 more boys came and hit him," Nupur Prasad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) told reporters.
"Based on the complaint, a case has been registered and the accused and his brother Naresh were arrested," the DCP said.
Apparently, Anuj Dedha's name featured in the initial 79-member list released by the DDCA in November for the U-23 trials. According to the probables list accessed by PTI, his date of birth is November 22, 1995.
DDCA president Rajat Sharma had made it clear that the guilty will not be spared.
"I have personally spoken to the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. The guilty will not go unpunished. We will register an FIR," Sharma told PTI.
Rajat Sharma, who went to meet Bhandari at the hospital said, "He is very shaken and it is natural. The doctors have advised that he should be kept under observation for 24 hours as a precautionary measure."
"The goons were pressurising him to select a player, who had failed to get into the U-23 team on merit. Bhandari claimed that one man also threatened him with a revolver. This is shameful that an honest selector was being prevented from performing his duties. I have been told that one person has been detained for questioning," Sharma informed.
Delhi's senior team manager Shankar Saini narrated the incident, saying: "To begin with I am calling for a life ban for the player who orchestrated this attack post his non-selection. I was having my meal along with a colleague inside the tent and Bhandari along with other selectors and senior team coach Mithun Manhas was watching the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy probables play a trial game."
"A couple of men first came and went up to Bhandari. There was a heated exchange between Bhandari and the two men. They left and before we could gather our thoughts, suddenly some 15 men armed with hockey sticks, rods and cycle chains came charging. When the other senior team players attending the trials along with us rushed to save Bhandari, they started threatening us and one of them said, "Don't get into this or else we will shoot you. They attacked Bhandari with hockey sticks and rods as he tried to run away and he sustained head injury," he added.
(With PTI inputs)