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It's conspiracy and sabotage, says Nanoli stud farm owner

Horse trainer files complaint with police on owner's instructions, names 10 key people who may be involved in scandal

Two months after three horses from the Nanoli stud farms tested positive for a banned drug, K N Dhunjibhoy, owner of the farm, directed his private trainer Shyam Habbu to lodge a complaint with the city police suggesting there may have been conspiracy and sabotage.

The Nanoli stud farm, which sponsors the Grade 1 Pune Derby every year, was in the news in August this year when three horses from the farm tested positive for the banned drug boldenone after they arrived at the race club's stables in the city.


Horses at the racecourse in the city. Three horses from the Nanoli stud
farm tested positive for the banned drug boldenone in August


Habbu, in whose care the horses were listed, was fined Rs 1.75 lakh for vicarious liability by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) stewards.

"We have been in this business for 17 years; more than 250 horses have come and gone from our farm in all these years, and we have never had a problem," said Dhunjibhoy. "We suspect there is more to this than meets the eye."

Dhunjibhoy, who also trains his horses with champion trainer Pesi Shroff, did not rule out a conspiracy or sabotage angle in the whole affair. "We have had great success in recent years, especially with Pesi Shroff-trained horses," he said. "Interestingly, these horses were initially meant for Pesi Shroff's yard."

Habbu, on Dhunjibhoy's instructions, has given names of 10 key persons to the police who are working at both the farms owned by Dhunjibhoy namely, Nanoli Stud and Manju Meadows, and also at the RWITC stables.

When asked why the help of private sleuths was not sought to get to the bottom of the matter, Dhunjibhoy said: "There wouldn't be legitimacy to the findings if I put private detectives on the job. I want this entire investigation to be transparent and above board, so I have approached the police."

The Wanwadi police, who are investigating the case, are yet to arrest anyone. The case has been booked under IPC 406, criminal conspiracy 34, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Section 11.

"We are probing the background of these 10 persons and after inquiry we will take suitable action against them," said Sub-Inspector Prasad Sansas.

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