New Delhi:The government on Tuesday said Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and spinner Harbhajan Singh did not attend Padma award ceremony owing to personal reasons.
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh did not attend the Padma Award ceremony, 2009 due to personal reasons," Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullapally Ramachandran told Lok Sabha today.
"It is not unusual for a few persons to convey their inability to attend the ceremony every year due to constraints like preoccupation, old age, ill health etc," the Minister said.
Both the cricketers skipped the April 14 ceremony despite being in the country which was perceived as lack of respect for the national awards.
An irked Sports Minister MS Gill subsequently asked all sports federations to ensure that the sportspersons turn up personally to receive the award or convey their inability due to any pre-occupations beforehand.
In the case of such awardees, who are not able to attend the ceremony, the decoration of the award is delivered to them through a senior representative of the Central or State government.