iconimg Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, May 09, 2010
Pandemonium prevailed in Tau Devi Lal Stadium here when thousands of spectators vandalised the wrestling ring, electronics display boards and even the cricket pitch when international wrestler Dilip Singh Rana alias Khali — slated to make an appearance — did not show up on Sunday evening.

Children and women ran for their safety inside the stadium, where about 100 bouncers clashed with the spectators.

There were no police personnel in sight.

The event “Yodhaon Ka Maha Sangram” (War of the champions) was co-organised by fashion designer Sanjana Jon to fund a charity organisation for children.

A fashion show was also scheduled at the venue as part of the programme.

The organisers later claimed that Khali did not turn up at the venue as a sports channel with which he had a contractual obligation, reportedly barred him making the appearance.

Amit Swami, Khali’s spokesman denied the wrestler had signed any with the organisers of the event.

“We had clarified verbally to the organisers about 10 days back that Khali would not be able to attend the event and we also had returned them the money,” said Swami.

“Despite that the organisers went on to publicise Khali’s supposed appearance for reasons best known to them,” Swami said over phone.

Wrestlers, including those from South Africa, and Bollywood actor Sharad Saxena were evacuated by the police from the stadium as spectators turned violent and started hurling bottles at them.

Police arrested one of the organisers, D S Babbar, and booked him on charges of cheating and breaching the trust of spectators, who claimed that the organisers sold tickets in Delhi and many towns of Haryana, including Gurgaon, in the name of Khali.

A Gurgaon resident, Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, on whose complaint the police registered the FIR, claimed that the tickets carried Khali’s picture but did not show a price.

The tickets were sold for anywhere between Rs. 300 and Rs. 5,000 each.

Many people were seen black marketeering the tickets near the stadium, said Bhardwaj.

Bhardwaj alleged that as per the schedule given in the tickets, the show was to start at 6.00pm but when Khali did not appear even till 10.00pm, the spectators turned furious.

Gurgaon police commissioner S S Deswal said the organisers had not received a no-objection-certificate from his department nor did they ask for the security cover.