KATHMANDU: Sandeep Lamichhane, suspended captain of the Nepal cricket team, who has been accused of rape, released a public statement on Friday claiming that "he is innocent".
He also announced that he will take leave from Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and will go back to Nepal in a few days.
"I am innocent and keep complete belief in the respectable laws of Nepal. I have decided to take a leave from CPL and go back to my country within a few days. I am ready to face all these baseless allegations. May justice be served to the innocent and the right investigation to be done towards everyone involved. Hope the law acts equal to everyone," tweeted Sandeep Lamichhane on a rape complaint against him.
Meanwhile, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has suspended Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane following the issuance of an arrest warrant against him over allegations of raping a minor girl.
According to CAN Acting Secretary Prashant Vikram Malla, a meeting of the CAN performance committee held on Thursday decided to suspend Lamichhane from the national team.
On Tuesday, a 17-year-old girl lodged a complaint at Gaushala Metropolitan Police Circle alleging the 25-year-old spinner of raping her multiple times.
A day after receiving the complaint the Police started an investigation of the complaint and collected CCTV videos and other relevant pieces of evidence as per the statement given by the victim.
With the court issuing the arrest warrant, the Nepal Police is now preparing to bring back Lamicchane, who now is West Indies playing the Caribbean League, via the Cricket Association of Nepal.
The 25-year-old spinner has been accused of raping a 17-year-old minor at a local hotel in Kathmandu. Police in a statement on Wednesday stated that the crime was committed on August 21.
Bharat Bahadur Bohora, the chief of the Kathmandu district police range, said that the police circle in Gaushala in the city registered the complaint on Wednesday.
"The police are sensitive to such serious incidents. We have made the supposed survivor undergo a health checkup and launched an investigation," said Rabindra Prasad Dhanuk, the Kathmandu Valley Police Office chief.
The teenage girl said that she was a fan of the cricketer and she used to talk to him via WhatsApp and Snapchat. She says it was Lamichhane who first proposed a meeting.
Last year, leg spinner Lamichhane was appointed as the captain of the Nepal cricket team. Lamichhane formerly captained the Nepal Under-19 side first in 2016 during the Asia Cup and then in 2017 for the Asian Cricket Council World Cup Qualifier. He has also played in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Police on the other hand after receiving the complaint initiated an investigation under the National Penal (Code) Act, 2017's Section 219.
The National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 has criminalized the offence of rape under Chapter- 18, Section 219. Section 219 (2) defines rape as "where any person has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or with a girl child below eighteen years of age even with her consent, the person shall be considered to commit rape on such woman or girl child."
Section 219 (2) (a) states that consent obtained by way of coercion, undue influence, intimidation, threat, misinterpretation, or kidnapping or taking of hostage shall not be considered consent. Furthermore, section 219 (2) (b) ensures that consent obtained at the time of being of unsoundness of mind shall not be considered consent. If proven guilty, Lamichhane would be facing imprisonment of 10 to 12 years.