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Govt gets tough after Dhoni, Harbhajan snub Padma awards

April 21, 2009 16:52 IST
Embarrassed by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's failure to turn up for the Padma Shri awards last Wednesday, the government issued a notification saying National sports awards, like the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dhronacharya and Dhyan chand, will be withdrawn if the recipient is absent from the ceremony without intimation.

As per a circular from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, dated April 17, the awardee, henceforth, has to be present in person to receive the award from the President and no person other than him/her will be allowed to receive it.

The circular, issued by Injeli Srinivas, joint secretary in the sports ministry, two days after the incident, says any awardee unable to attend the ceremony for compelling reasons must intimate the ministry in advance, and on leave of absence being granted, alternative arrangements will be made to let him receive the award from the sports minister.

'In the event of a sports person not giving such prior intimation, the award so conferred will stand withdrawn,' the circular added.

A Correspondent in Delhi