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Award chases Mahi to capital

Ranchi, Sept. 21: After much controversy, the Padma Shri medal, which Mahendra Singh Dhoni had missed receiving earlier this year due to “personal reasons”, has finally reached the state.

Home secretary J.B. Tubid told The Telegraph that he has received the medal from the central government and has officially communicated this to Dhoni. He also checked with him for his availability in Ranchi to receive the award personally.

Captain Dhoni and spinner Harbhajan Singh were listed as awardees for the Padma Shri in January this year. Both Dhoni and Harbhajan skipped the April 14 ceremony despite being in the country, which was perceived as their lack of respect for the national award.

Soon thereafter, Union sports minister M.S. Gill flayed them for their attitude. Even though reports claimed the duo gave the ceremony a miss because of commercial commitments, in July, the central government had announced in the Lok Sabha that the cricketers missed the event due to personal reasons.

“Dhoni and Harbhajan did not attend the Padma Shri award ceremony due to personal reasons,” minister of state for home affairs Mullapally Ramachandran had told Lok Sabha.

The Central government, thereafter, sent the medal and citation to the resident commissioner of Jharkhand, who, in turn, sent it to the state’s chief secretary. The state plans to award him on November 15 at the Statehood Day function. “But this is subject to his availability,” Tubid said.

At present, the cricketer is busy with the Champions Trophy in South Africa, which concludes on October 5.

Dhoni’s elder brother Narendra Singh Dhoni could not comment on his availability as he wasn’t aware of the cricketer’s schedule.

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