Trouble for Sahara over Queen’s Baton

Lucknow, July 10 (Calcutta Tube) Sahara is in trouble for displaying a replica of the Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games here Saturday. The authorities plan to take legal action against company officials for disrespecting the baton, an official said.

After the customary run of the baton here, it was taken to Rai Bareli. But some officials of Sahara displayed a replica at Sahara Shahr, the residence of Sahara India Chairman Subroto Roy, in Gomti Nagar.

‘Legal action would be taken against the Sahara officials for showing disrespect to the Queen’s Baton and displaying it without permission,’ Lucknow District Magistrate Anil Sagar told reporters here.

‘Apart from legal action, we will also register a complaint with the government of India and the sports authorities to initiate action against Sahara for their act that tantamount to disrespect of the official baton. The act is condemnable and would definitely hurt the sentiments of people, particularly sportspersons,’ he said.

Officials are also enquiring as to how the replica was made a part of the official relay team and later diverted to Sahara Shahr.

‘After the customary relay run ended and the baton was proceeding towards Rae Bareli district, five vehicles that were a part of the official relay diverted from the prescribed route,’ said Sagar.

‘A team of district administration officials and the police followed the vehicles and found that some people alighted from the five vehicles and reached Sahara Shahr on private vehicles. These people carried the replica of the baton to Sahara Shahr,’ he added.

Lucknow Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Rajiv Krishna said: ‘As per our information, those people are still in Sahara Shahr along with the baton.’

When asked about the identity of the Sahara officials, Krishna said: ‘We are yet to ascertain their identity. Those who carried the replica of the baton also include women…There’s one woman named Alka Lamba.’

Officials said that the original baton has reached safely to its next destination – Rae Bareli.

‘We have confirmed this with the officials in Rae Bareli. The baton is safe and being guarded by a number of security personnel,’ said Sagar.

The baton reached Lucknow Friday and was handed over to the state Olympic association general secretary Anandeshwar Pandey, senior government officials and public representatives at Itaunja town.

In Uttar Pradesh, the baton will touch around 19 districts in two phases. It will reach Bihar Tuesday and re-enter Uttar Pradesh from Jhansi district July 19, officials said.

The baton has travelled nearly 170,000 km through nearly 70 Commonwealth countries before arriving in India for the Games Oct 3-14 in New Delhi.

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