Arbitration set for Dhoni contract breach

After the “testing times” in the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup in England, there is now more bad news in store for him: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday appointed an arbitrator to resolve the dispute between Dhoni and Karnataka Soaps and Detergent Liminited (KSDL).

The one-man arbitration panel, to be headed by Justice R Gururajan, will try to amicably resolve the dispute concerning Dhoni’s failure to honour an endorsement contract with KSDL.

According to the contract, the wicketkeeper-batsman was to appear for a commercial shooting for about five days. Dhoni, the company claims, failed to turn up for two days.
Justice Abdul Nazeer, who disposed of the matter on Tuesday, appointed Justice Gururajan the sole arbitrator to resolve the matter.

The High Court registry has been directed to send copies related to the arbitration to the two parties for an out-of-court settlement.

Earlier, counsel for Dhoni and Game Plan Sports Private Company Sampath Kumar denied the allegations by KSDL, but said he had no objection to the appointment of an arbitrator.

Rs 7-million deal

On January 3, 2006, Dhoni entered into an agreement with KSDL to be brand ambassador for its flagship product, Mysore Sandal soap, for two years. The deal was fixed at Rs 7 million and KSDL also paid over Rs 40 lakh in five instalments, totalling Rs 8.75 lakh.

Dhoni, who was supposed to make himself available for the commercial shooting for about five days a year, allegedly failed to appear for two days, much to the ire of the company.

When the City-based Marketing Consultants and Agencies Limited refused to play the role of arbitrator, KSDL sent a legal notice on December 20, 2007, for a breach of contract under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Concealation Act and moved the High Court. The company also alleged that Dhoni failed to return the Rs 40 lakh compensation after breaching the contract.

 Subsequently, the High Court asked Dhoni and KSDL to come up with a consensus on naming an arbitrator to adjudicate a dispute arising out of an alleged breach of contract.
However, even the appointment of an arbitrator was marred with delays as the KSDL wanted former Supreme Court Justice (retd) Shivaraj Patil to be the arbitrator, while Dhoni preferred former High Court judge Justice (retd) Shivshankar Bhat.

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