The Crime Branch of Mumbai police which filed a report in the doping scandal involving racing mare Bullseye trained by ace-jockey-turned-trainer Pesi Shroff has not found any evidence against the suspects pointed out by Shroff.
Shroff, who is in Bangalore, on Friday said he would decide whether to pursue the case or not after he goes through the ‘A Summary’ report filed in a Mumbai court by the Crime Branch. At the stage of ‘A Summary’ report, the veracity of the complaint is recognised but no evidence has yet to be found of any involvement of suspects to apprehend them. The complainant can pursue the case further is he so wants.
Shroff, who has won a record number Indian Derbies, had named several suspects for doping Bullseye to target him. Bullseye was banned after she tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing drug when it arrived at Mahalaxmi Racecourse for a race on December 6, 2013. In March 2014, the stewards body of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) held Shroff “vicariously” responsible, as he was the trainer, and banned him for nine months.
When contacted about the police report, Shroff said, “I am in Bangalore and am not aware of the report being filed. I will return by the weekend. Only after going through the report would I be able to decide on pursuing the case further.”
Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) K M M Prasanna told The Indian Express, “We have filed an ‘A’ report in a local court.” He refused to comment further.
Four employees of the Maval-based stud farm where Bullseye was trained were detained by the Mumbai Crime Branch on Shroff’s allegations. The police did not find any evidence of involvement of the four, Umedsingh Rathod (51), Aamsingh Bhati (41), Bhursingh Indra (39) and Mohansingh Rathod (60).”
“Two of them were security guards at the stud farm. The other two worked in the stables where the animal was kept. We did not find any evidence to show that the drug was handed over to them by someone to ‘fix’ Shroff,” a police officer said.
The police have questioned more than 100 persons who worked at the stud farm. The stud farm not being covered by CCTV cameras had impeded investigations. The Crime Branch also ruled out any involvement of Shroff’s rival Kawasji ‘Cooji’ Katrak. The horse-trainer had been questioned twice in the case, police said.
The investigators were also in possession of phone conversations between some RWITC officials that reveal a plan to target Shroff allegedly being hatched.
“It had nothing to do with the sabotage complaint filed by Shroff but it appeared from the conversations that a plan was being made to use the controversy to their advantage, against Shroff,” added the officer who did not want to be named.
Shroff is one of the highest-paid professionals in the racing circuit. Horse owners who train with Shroff include Vijay Mallya, Cyrus Poonawalla and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, besides Vijay Shirke, who, along with K N Dhunjibhoy and Berjis Desa, co-owns Bullsye.
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