A court in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has issued an arrest warrant for Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.
Dhoni – who is currently en-route to England for a five-match Test series – is accused of being in contempt after failing to appear at the court on three previous occasions.
The case relates to a picture on the cover of an Indian business magazine which featured Dhoni’s face superimposed onto an image of the Hindu god Vishnu.
The picture was part of a wider feature titled ‘God of Big Deals’ about Dhoni’s multi-billion rupee brand endorsement deals.
A local leader of the hardline Hindu group the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had filed a petition in the court in February this year alleging that the cricketer hurt the sentiments of Hindus by denigrating a Hindu god.
Similar petitions against Dhoni were filed in Delhi, Pune and other cities.
Police in the state were instructed by the court to track down the India captain just as he settled into his Air India Business Class seat alongside his teammates for the two-month long tour of England and Wales.
According to Forbes Magazine, Dhoni is one of the world’s highest paid athletes.
Whilst his salary and win-bonuses in the year to June 2014 stood at around $4 million, his income from endorsements brought in a staggering $26 million.
Dhoni is yet to comment on the arrest warrant.