"We were shocked as my brother was already married"
The death of an Indian footballer led to the shocking revelation that he had two wives.
Both wives were unaware of the other. They got into a dispute about who had the rightful claim on the body. The first family was allowed to see his funeral over a video call.
Naresh Aula played as a midfielder and represented Odisha in the Santosh Trophy three times from 2006 to 2008. He also represented Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in the reputed I-League.
Naresh had worked as a security supervisor in ONGC since 2009. He was posted to Silchar a couple of years ago after serving in Mumbai for 10 years.
The night before his death, he had reportedly spoken to his family staying in Ganjam district and expressed his desire to return home.
His brother Bishnu Aula, who spoke to him, said he had advised the Indian footballer to postpone the visit as he would likely be put in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
On June 10, 2020, his wife Arathi, his parents and other siblings in Bhanjanagar were told that he had died in a hospital in Silchar.
Bishnu said: “When we spoke to the ONGC officials asking them to send my brother’s body to our home, we were told that a woman from Mizoram, named Lal Muan Kui, is a claimant for the body as her name was listed as my brother’s wife in the official records.
“We were shocked as my brother was already married (since 2012) and has a four-year-old daughter.”
The wait for the body continued throughout the day. The family contacted the office of the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas, the parent ministry of the ONGC.
Bishnu said: “We were told that a decision will be taken.
“We sent the video clip of my brother’s marriage as well as the photo of her daughter on WhatsApp seeking the ministry’s intervention.
“However, on June 11 night we were told that the body has been sent to Mizoram.
“In the ONGC records his legally wedded wife’s name was not there.”
The family was allowed to witness Naresh’s funeral over a video call.
His father Alabandru Aula said: “We were too shocked to react.”
The family have said that they will meet petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, seeking his intervention in the case.
Bishnu revealed that the family came to know about the presence of another woman in his life four years ago after some footballers told them.
“However, he kept dodging our queries. Our suspicion increased when he stopped coming to Odisha one and half years ago citing work pressure.”
Naresh also played for the Maharashtra state football team.
A spokesperson for ONGC said that they would look into the case.