In a shocking incident of police high-handedness, IPL cheerleaders hired by the Chennai Super Kings franchise ahead of their match against Delhi Daredevils were harassed and humiliated by local cops on Tuesday.
Over a dozen officials of Kotwali police - including women cops - arrived in three SUVs in the afternoon and raided a reputed hotel in which the girls were lodged, quizzing them for nearly an hour.
According to sources, the cops had no warrant for the raid and later explained the decision away as a "routine check". Hotel staff, however, later accused the police of using "strong arm tactics" without "any evidence" of wrong-doing.
The raid created panic among the cheer girls, who immediately started calling officials of the event management firm which had flown them in from Chennai.
The cops did not spare other hotel guests too, knocking on every room to check for cheerleaders. Even sports journalists here to cover the game were not spared. The cops did not officially state if that they had evidence of illegal racketeering of any form inside the hotel premises.
Most of the cheer girls are from England and Australia. Along with the crew head Kartikeyan, they had checked into the hotel at GE Road on early Tuesday morning.
"It's ridiculous that we are be ing treated like this by the cops," one of the cheer girls said.
"They could have contacted our event manager directly rather than rushing straight to our rooms. We all have work permits and we have been associated with Bollywood. We have never had such a bad experience in India," she added.
Crew head Kartikeyan was caught by surprise when the police rudely banged his door. He said the moment he opened the door, two or three senior police officials started quizzing him.
"The cops should have checked the guest lists and checked their IDs. if they had any doubt they should have quizzed everyone," Kartikeyan said, adding: "There has been no such problem in any city with the cheer girls. Earlier, they used to stay in the team hotel. But after the spot-fixing scandal, the BCCI is extra cautious and that is why they are now staying in a different hotel. They also do not take the same flight as the players."
The hotel management refused to accept that any guest had broken the law. "The police thought something else about the cheer girls, so they raided the hotel," a hotel staff said.
City Superintendent of Police of Kotwali Police circle Anshuman Singh Sisodiya confirmed the raid and said nothing objectionable was found.
"It was routine checking. We were informed about some foreign girls checking in a hotel under Kotwali Police circle. A team led by senior police official visited the hotel and checked the rooms of the girls just to make sure there wasn't anything suspicious," he said.
When TOI contacted Chhattisgarh Cricket Association's secretary Rajesh Dave, he promised to take up the matter with the police.