By Amit Kumar
Two blind men. One a former captain (fondly known as second Dhoni) of the Indian blind football team and the other a computer science teacher. Both worked at the same institute. Find out what happened next…
Abhimanyu Naskar, with his long hair and dark glasses, had modelled himself on India’s former cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD). Like MSD, Naskar would like to say that he too plays cricket but football is his first love. And that got him the captain’s hat for India’s football team. Except that Naskar is blind and he plays for the Indian blind football team.
But this story is not about Naskar’s football prowess or his MSD-resemblance. Naskar sadly is the victim of cheating, and by a fellow blind colleague, at a school for the blind in Bengaluru.
Twenty-five-year-old Naskar who hails from Kolkata had moved to Bengaluru and was living in T Dasarahalli, was working as a Physical Education teacher for visually impaired children at Karnataka Welfare Association for the Blind in Seshadripuram.
Radhakrishna, a computer science teacher who used to work in the same school soon gained Naskar’s trust. Radhakrishna promised to get Naskar a better paying government job in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) or the Indian Railways. He then collected Naskar’s original marks cards and his visiting card and asked him to transfer 50,000 to his bank account.
The money, Radhakrishna told Naskar, was to bribe senior people in these organisations.
According to the police report, Naskar believed Radhakrishna’s stories and handed over his certificates and money. Naskar alleges that Radhakrishna frequently used to withdraw money using Naskar’s ATM card. Not just that, Radhakrishna used Naskar’s certificates and visiting card to impersonate him and promised people jobs, talking about his clout as an international football player of merit.
I have represented the country in the Asian Blind Football Championship which was held in Japan (2015) and I was the captain of the Indian blind football team. I never expected Radhakrishna to cheat me.
— Abhimanyu Naskar, former captain Indian blind football team
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Abhimanyu Naskar said, “I came to Bengaluru in 2016. The accused promised me a job saying he had good contacts in the Railways and HAL. Radhakrishna hails from Hassan and he is also a visually challenged man. First, he demanded Rs 2 lakh from me and I convinced him that I could not afford to give him so much money as bribe.
Gradually, he started taking money from me by concocting stories. I must have paid him Rs 1 lakh in total. I have represented the country in the Asian Blind Football Championship which was held in Japan (2015) and I was the captain of the Indian blind football team. I never expected him to cheat me. I come from a poor family. My father and brothers are farmers. I wanted a better job so that I could take care of my family.”
One of the officials from Bagalgunte police station told Bangalore Mirror that “The accused was arrested last weekend by the Electronic city police officials in another cheating case. During the inquiry, Radhakrishna confessed to cheating Naskar too. We will be taking the accused into our custody as the victim has filed a complaint at our station on August 12.”
That Radhakrishna had cheated Naskar came to light only when he confessed. Naskar had not filed the complaint since Radhakrishna had gone missing for more than a month.
It’s sad to see blind football’s ‘Dhoni’ struggle to lead a respectable life even after playing for the country. From playing football in Divine Fellowship school for the blind in Kolkata to playing for the national side in December 2014 when India went on a tour of Malaysia, the Naskar has come a long way. After teaching cricket for blind children at a school in Uttara Kashi (Uttarakand), Naskar is far away from his Kolkata home and a victim of cheating.
Naskar is now working at a school for the blind in Chamarajnagar School.
A FIR registered has been registered at the Bagalgunte police station under sections 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 419 (Punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (Punishment for cheating).