Arjun Sajnani who is the owner of Queen Latifa and Vivek Ubhayakar, his business partner and former Steward of Bangalore Turf Club have reacted to the allegations of being involved in the doping of the filly for gain and then being part of the cover-up team. They have clarified that the allegations are far-fetched and are the result of malice on the part of those who wish to bring disgrace and disrepute to the sport. They have welcomed the filing of the charge sheet by the CID and have said that it gives them an opportunity of obtaining an honourable discharge.
The following is the full text of the letter released to the Press by Arjun Sajnani:
``At the outset let me say that we welcome the filing of the charge sheet in the case of the use of Procaine administered by the Bangalore Turf Club vet. The drug is non-performance enhancing anaesthetic and was given to the filly to alleviate the pain from a penicillin injection 25 days before the race. The correspondence between the various labs and the BTC vet are available for scrutiny and clearly indicate the lack of any drug.
``Both Vivek and I have always stated that we are innocent of all charges and the filing of the charge sheet provides us with the opportunity of obtaining an honourable discharge.
``We have always held that the case against all of us is the result of calumny, misrepresentation and malice. We have no hesitation in unequivocally saying that nefarious persons with vested interests have initiated a process in court which will lend to the wastage of precious court time and effort of agencies which could have been better employed to serve society by ridding the state of genuine crime and not concocted, contrived cases like the one we have been foisted with. The lies that have been put out to the media are disgusting and shameful.
``Both Vivek and I have been associated with racing for over 30 years. (I as an owner and Mr. Ubhayakar as a Committee member, Steward and Chairman of the BTC.) without the slightest trace of a slur against either of us.
``We will seek judicial recourse against this charge sheet and endeavour, through the judicial system in which we have complete faith, to remove the blight and dishonour that may possibly have been brought on to us and the BTC with the kind of malicious, lying propaganda put out by those who wish to bring disgrace and disrepute to this sport.``
Former Chairman of the Bangalore Turf Club Dr K M Srinivasa Gowda has also issued a clarification and denied any wrong doing on the part of the people associated with the horse.
``The facts are simple. The drug under question is Procaine, a local anaesthetic and not a performance enhancer. The problem started with the National Laboratory in Delhi which mainly looks into the doping of athletes simply reported the presence of the drug in very low quantities which were not pharmacologically active levels. And the treatment had been administered in the BTC Veterinary hospital itself.
``This hullabaloo was started by some people who were about to lose their power to serve their own interests. Subsequently, internationally accredited laboratories have cleared the issue as a non-event, because the drug is a local anaesthetic.
``Our COD seems to have not applied its mind in a proper and impartial manner causing immeasurable anguish to many people genuinely interested in the royal sport of Thoroughbred horse racing. I firmly believe that Justice will prevail in the end. ‘`
It may be recalled that the CID has filed a charge-sheet accusing former CEO Nirmal Prasad, Chief Stipendiary Steward Pradyumna Singh and Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Dr H S Mahesh of colluding with Vivek Ubhaykar, the Steward, Arjun Sajnani who is one of the horse owners of Queen Latifa and trainer Neil Darashah of ``doping the horse`` for gain.
The situation reportedly went out of hand when one of the trainers Dominic whose horse also came positive for the same drug, raised a hue and cry stating that he was being discriminated as his stables were raided while the Stipes had kept away from trainer Neil Darashah. He reportedly brought the matter to the notice of the then Chairman of the Club who swung into action. The club`s officials defence was that the medication for Queen Latifa was administered at the club`s veterinary hospital and they were waiting for the quantification report but in trainer Dominic`s case, the treatment was not logged in the official books. The situation turned worse when an FIR was filed in the High Grounds police station and then the matter was handed over to the CID.
Trainer Dominic said that he did not raise a hue and cry nor did he approach the Chairman of the Club about the raid on his stables and the club not taking similar action on Neil Darashah`s stables. ``I brought it to the notice of only the Chief Stipendiary Steward and the Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer because I thought that it was odd. I had not spoken about this to anybody else. Needlessly my name is being dragged into the controversy. I wish to clarify that I had no role in escalating the matter.``