Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boldenone verdict out

Trainers sentenced for 'vicarious' liability

Prakash Gosavi

The verdict was finally out on the most sensational drug case in the history of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) Ltd when a body of five stewards, headed by club chairman Vivek Jain, handed out punishments to the three high profile trainers--Pesi Shroff, Cooji Katrak and Shiraz Sunderji--whose horses had tested positive for banned drug bolenone in December last year.

"We have gone strictly by the rule book and past precedent," Vivek Jain told MiD DAY after the meeting, "there was no clear evidence to suggest that the trainers were guilty of administering the alleged drug, but there is a clause of vicarious liability under which the sentences have been handed out."

Pesi Shroff, for whom it was the first offence, was given only a one-month suspension along with a fine of Rs 10,000, while Shiraz Sunderji (45 days & Rs 20,000 fine) & Cooji Katrak (120 days & Rs 20,000 fine for two horses, for two horses) received longer sentences for having past history of violations.

In their defence, the trainers had collectively argued that the feed that the club supplied to them, manufactured by a German company, was given to the said horses, and that it was contaminated with Boldenone. To support their argument, the trainers had also submitted reports of two laboratories--Davis, California & Bhagawati, Hyderabad--which clearly mentioned that fact. When MiD DAY asked Jain about the same, he replied, "That argument could not be accepted as mitigating circumstances because several horses in western India who received the same supplements were tested but none of them, other than these horses, tested positive."

When contacted, Pesi Shroff, the most famous of the trio and a living legend of the sport, offered a one-line comment, "I have a recourse to appeal, and I will file it."

All three sentences are expected to take effect from the next week (September 5) unless the board of appeal of the RWITC needs more time to deliberate on the appeals filed by the trainers.

(c) MiD DAY

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