Paddler Soumyajit Ghosh faces suspension after being booked for rape
Arjuna Awardee paddler and Olympian Soumyajit Ghosh has been booked for rape just days before he was to leave for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Police have lodged an FIR against Ghosh on the basis of a complaint lodged by his ex-girlfriend, according to which the athlete established physical relationship with her for two years after promising marriage. The girl alleged that she got pregnant once and aborted her foetus on Ghosh’s insistence.
“We have received a complaint against table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh and have initiated a probe,” said an official of Barasat police.
As per the FIR, a copy of which is in possession of The Indian Express, Ghosh, 24, has been booked under Section 376 (rape), 417 (cheating),318 (act done with intent to prevent a child being born), and 120B (criminal conspiracy). It has been alleged that the alleged crimes occurred between December 2014 and October 2016, when the girl, now 18, was a minor.
Ghosh represented India at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. After the FIR, he is set to be dropped from the squad for the Commonwealth Games, which will be held from April 4-15 in the Australian city.
The girl claimed that they became friends on a social networking site. It is alleged that the paddler and his family started ignoring her before he left for Germany, following which they lodged a complaint.
“I have been victimised of rape under the pretext of marriage by Soumyajit Ghosh, a resident of Siliguri. I came in contact with Ghosh in 2015 and then we met at shopping malls and restaurants. In April 2015, I was alone at my parent’s house. He came to my house intentionally and raped me. He kept saying that he would get married to me soon once I am 18. He also said that physical relationship was important for us to establish trust,” read the complaint which is being treated as an FIR. Ghosh, however, tried to paint a different picture and accused the girl of blackmail.
“I had a relationship with her and had also introduced her as my fiancée, but later she started blackmailing me for money. I have paid her one lakh rupees and have also borne the expenditure of her relative’s treatment in the past. The allegations that she has come up with are rubbish”, Ghosh, who is in Germany now, told a news channel over phone.
“We were together but then I wanted to focus on my career so I told her ‘it is very difficult to be with you’. After I broke things off with her, she started blackmailing me, my family and my friend circle. From the last one- and-a-half years, she has been trying to threaten and blackmail us.
“I don’t know what happened, I think this is part of a plan just before I am to leave for the Commonwealth Games. She is doing this to ruin my career,” he said. The Olympian’s parents Meena Ghosh also claimed that the girl’s family had been taking money from their son. “When he stopped giving them money they are trying to blackmail him and malign his image,” his mother Meena said.
Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Secretary MP Singh said Ghosh is set to be dropped from the national team.
“The charges are very serious against Ghosh. I have called an executive committee meeting tomorrow. In my opinion, we have no option but to suspend him pending further investigations. Sanil Shetty has been in the reserves and will be his replacement for the Gold Coast Games,” Singh said.