- J Prithviraj [Copyright: FMSCI India]

Following the happenings during the Indian National Rally Championship round in Jodhpur, where Mahindra Adventure's Gaurav Gill met with an accident when three people tried to drive through a live rally stage on a motorcycle and were killed on the spot.

Gill was charged immediately but is on bail as the case continues on. At the same time, the FMSCI set-up an enquiry pannel which released details of its findings. The council subsequently banned its own president J Prithiviraj from officiating for a term of three years.

They also imposed a heavy fine on Coimbatore Auto Sports Club which were put to manage the Rally of Jodhpur. Days later since the release, both the parties have released their respective statements, appealing against the ban/penalty put on them.

The statement from Prithiviraj read as:

"I am sharing this statement in my individual capacity, as the COC of the INRC (Jodhpur Round). As a responsible and senior official of the FMSCI, with over 28 years in the profession in various capacities, including as COC of innumerable events, I have always carried out my duties with diligence and a sense of responsibility.

"I have always considered safety and procedure as top priority, never compromising on either of them ever in my life. As COC of the Jodhpur Rally too, I had ensured that every safety measure was in place and FMSCI Observer too went on the route and approved the stage setup before giving it the green signal.

"So, I disagree with the three-year penalty imposed on me. It is harsh and unfair too, especially as the Council members did not give me any opportunity to present my version nor a copy of the report before passing their verdict. This is against the principles of natural justice.

"Taking into account everything that has happened before, during and after the Rally, I have decided to appeal against the penalty imposed on me. If nothing, I should be given an opportunity to put forward my case. "

"PS: The CASC has also been penalised Rs 5,00,000 and has been barred from organising any events outside Coimbatore for no fault of theirs. They have already filed their appeal, I am attaching that too for your reference."

At the same time, the statement from CASC stated:

"We are in receipt of the FMSCI Enquiry Panel report as modified and approved by the Council of FMSCI on 5th November 2019. We were shocked and surprised to by the recommendations of the Enquiry Panel and the decision of the Council to impose a monetary penalty of Rs.5,00,000/- on CASC and to ban CASC from organizing National Championship Events outside of Coimbatore till 31st December 2022. We hereby place our objections to the same.

"Firstly, CASC was never given any notice by the Enquiry Panel or by FMSCI to attend the enquiry conducted by the Enquiry Panel or to send anyone to represent CASC in the enquiry, which notice should have been sent well before the date of enquiry; second, we were never called upon by any show cause notice to express our objections or differences in respect of the recommendations of the Enquiry Panel post enquiry and post report; we have been, as an entity and as member of FMSCI, entirely unaware of the above developments and recommendations.

"We further find that the report of the Enquiry Panel reads as if Mr. J. Prithiviraj participated in the enquiry as our representative. That is not correct. We never authorized Mr. J. Prithiviraj or anyone else for that matter to represent us in the enquiry since we had not been called upon to do so. The monetary penalty and the ban have been imposed on us is entirely in violation of principles of natural justice and fair play. As such, the same are not legal and binding.

"In light of the above, we request you to withdraw the penalty and ban imposed on us forthwith. In the event of the council failing to withdraw the decision, we reserve our right to seek appropriate remedies. Awaiting your reply at the earliest."

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[Image courtesy: FMSCI India]

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