Cagers get into a ‘fight’ off court; federation forms probe committee

Nitin Sharma
Last year, Amjyot had allegedly slapped Arshdeep while the team was in Gold Coast, Australia.

Late on Wednesday night, outside the national camp where India’s basketball team was preparing for the upcoming South Asian Games, two cagers were embroiled in an altercation that ended in a broken pair of spectacles, a damaged gold chain and injuries. The pair, Amjyot Singh Gill and Arshdeep Singh Bhullar, was accompanied by teammate Amritpal Singh for the trip away from camp on their day off, only for Amjyot and Arshdeep to engage in yet another incident after what happened last year.

Last year, Amjyot had allegedly slapped Arshdeep while the team was in Gold Coast, Australia for the Commonwealth Games. The incident prompted the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to impose a one-year ban on the 27-year-old power forward, and also banned fellow cager Palpreet Singh for uploading a derogatory post on social media about the BFI. The ban was lifted in May this year, but the latest clash is expected to result in “action against the three players.”

In this case, though, there are more than one version of the story.

Amjyot, who has plied his trade in Japan and has turned out for Oklahoma City Blue and Wisconsin Herd in the NBA’s G-League, alleged that his colleagues tried to force him into drinking alcohol during the trip outside camp at Vidya Nagar in Bangalore. Upon his refusal, he and Arshdeep got into an altercation, and the latter assaulted Amjyot in his hostel room.

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“Last night, Arshdeep, Amritpal and I went to the nearby hill outside our training centre as it was our day off from practice. Arshdeep offered me coke which had rum in it and we had a minor altercation,” Amjyot told The Indian Express.

“Later when I got to my room in the hostel, Arshdeep was sitting on my bed and he thrashed me. He broke my gold chain and spectacles and pushed me holding my throat. He was apparently angry about things I had posted on social media about my ban being unfair when it was finally lifted. He told me that he will kill me if I enter Jalandhar or Punjab. Later our team-mates Amritpal Singh and Satnam Singh stopped Arshdeep and locked us in separate rooms to stop the fight. Later I filed my complaint with Bengaluru Police. Last time when I was handed the ban, BFI had told me not to file any case.”

Amjyot went further to claim that Arshdeep’s father Mukhwinder, a DCP in the Punjab Police, forced the cager to resign from his post in the police before going back to the United States.

In his complaint, Amjyot also alleged being “dragged on the road” when he refused alcohol. The Chandigarh lad posted photographs of his broken chain, spectacles and wounds he suffered from the alleged altercation with Arshdeep.

None of Arshdeep, Amritpal or Mukhwinder (who is abroad on vacation) responded to phone calls.

BFI secretary general Chander Mukhi Sharma, however, refuted Amjyot’s claims about the incident. Sharma’s account describes Amjyot’s injuries coming as a result of him and Arshdeep falling off a motorbike. Additionally, Sharma claims Amjyot was in a deeply “inebriated” state when he returned to the camp. “The whole issue has been blown out of proportion by Amjyot. The three players went outside the camp since it was an off-day for them, and had alcohol. Later when they were returning, Amjyot and Arshdeep, who were on a motorbike, fell and Amjyot created a ruckus about the event and had a fight,” Sharma stated.

“A traffic inspector saw them and later came to the training camp building. Amjyot was in a heavily inebriated state and could not even speak. The police officials took him to the police station at midnight and he was later told to go to the camp at 3:30 am after the coaches went to the police station. Amjyot was not even in a condition to speak properly. The issue of fight by Arshdeep was created by Amjyot to hide the accident and the alcohol issue. We will take action against the three players and form a committee to probe the issue.”

The camp began in Bangalore on October 15 in preparation for the South Asian Games in Nepal in December. But based on what Sharma asserted, it may be unlikely that Amjyot, Amritpal and Arshdeep will make the cut.