Cops summon Sardar, HI not amused
By Swaroop Swaminathan | Express News Service | Published: 20th June 2017 02:26 AM |
CHENNAI: Former India skipper Sardar Singh was called in for questioning by West Yorkshire police a day after the team beat Pakistan 7-1 at the ongoing World League Semifinal in London. It is believed to be regarding the case of Ashpal Bhogal, a former junior British hockey player.
Here’s a refresher: Bhogal had alleged that Sardar was torturing her “mentally, physically and emotionally”. The former England U-19 player had originally filed a case with Ludhiana police in Feb 2016. They formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter, and after three months declared that there was no evidence and allegations of rape were ‘false’.
The matter looked to have been closed until Sunday morning BST when one of the team management received a call from West Yorkshire police requesting Sardar to come in for questioning. “He has to be here as there is a complaint against Sardar,” was the message. Sardar was asked to come on Sunday itself but as there was a match, he travelled to Leeds on Monday. A source confirmed that neither the team management nor Sardar had been briefed about the situation.
Express learned that Sardar was taken into questioning regarding incidents that occurred in 2013 in London, Leeds and Birmingham. Meanwhile, Hockey India sources said it was not right on the part of West Yorkshire police to summon Sardar without informing the Indian High Commission because he was representing India and not there as a tourist.
“England hockey should have helped us. If the same had happened in India we would have extended all our support,” the source said. Hockey India (HI) also said they would extend all support to Sardar.
The issue was highlighted on social media by former HI chief and current FIH president Narinder Batra, where he alleged it was a conspiracy to demoralise the Indian team. “... Sardar will take five hours to go to Leeds then five hours to come back and how many hours at the police station? And they play against Holland tomorrow (Tuesday).”
The Facebook post was later withdrawn, even as FIH said the statement was made in his personal capacity. “The FIH would like to emphasise that these comments were personal thoughts of Dr Batra and not representative of the views of the FIH.”.
The team management said that Sardar, who returned to London on Monday night, will play on Tuesday. However, team management did not know whether he would be called again for questioning.
She confirmed to Express she had filed a complaint on Tuesday and pressed three charges, including rape, sexual assault and grooming. “I want justice.”
Know the case
Ashpal Kaur Bhogal claims to have met Sardar Singh during the 2012 Olympics in London.
They allegedly were engaged, but in 2016, she asserted that he was torturing her mentally, physically and emotionally.
The former U-19 player, a person of Indian origin, originally filed a case with the Ludhiana police in February 2016.
He did not travel to London for the Champions Trophy in 2016. However, it was learned he told the management that the matter was sorted and that is why he was in the team.
Ashpal also alleged that Sardar was the one who backed off their relationship and forced her to abort their baby.