It was taken to Sahara Shahar en route to Rae Bareli

: Controversy marred the arrival of the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton in Lucknow on Saturday with the district administration taking exception to the participation of Sahara India in the programme. The Queen's Baton, which arrived in Lucknow on Friday, left the city on Saturday morning for Rae Bareli en route to Allahabad to continue its journey in Uttar Pradesh.

Soon after the Baton left the KD Singh “Babu” Stadium here, it was taken to the Sahara Shahar at Gomtinagar.

Lucknow District Magistrate Anil Sagar said it was a replica of the Queen's Baton that made its way to Sahara Shahar, where it was received by Sahara India Managing Worker, Subrata Roy Sahara. He told reporters at a crowded press conference here that he would write to the Centre in this regard.

High drama started when four vehicles of the Rae Bareli-bound convoy of the Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) made a sudden detour from the Bandariya Bagh crossing towards Gomtinagar. The vehicles were apprehended by the police, following a chase, near the Indira Barrage. But one of the other vehicles carried the Baton to Sahara Shahar.

The Queen's Baton Relay team, led by Lt. General (retired) Raju Kadyan, later expressed regret for the incident. The District Magistrate later summoned Lt. Gen. Kadyan, convenor Alka Lamba and project officer Shruti Menon, too expressed regret. Mr. Sagar told journalists that they clarified in writing that the baton was only a replica of the original one.

Meanwhile, Sahara India has clarified that the Baton arrived in Sahara Shahar on the instructions of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games in India.

Sahara India said in a press release that the group's Managing Worker Subrata Roy Sahara was one of the biggest patrons of sports in the country and was also the chairman of the Protocol Sub-Committee of the Commonwealth Games. The release said the QBR team members met Mr. Roy on Friday and the baton arrived in Sahara Shahar on Saturday, and was taken back keeping in mind its associated protocol.

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