SIT to probe sexual harassment charges against India Hockey captain Sardar Singh
Punjab Police on Wednesday constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to look into allegations of sexual exploitation against national hockey captain Sardar Singh, levelled by a young British hockey player of Indian origin who was his live-in partner.
The SIT, set up by Ludhiana Police Commissioner P.S. Umranangal, would be headed by additional DCP S.S. Atwal and comprise two other members. The SIT started its inquiry into the case immediately on Wednesday.
The police have not registered any case against Sardar Singh so far.
In a tight spot after the 21-year-old British national filed a complaint of "sexual exploitation" against him, the Indian hockey team captain denied on Wednesday that he was ever engaged to the woman.
Was not engaged to the complainant: Sardar
However, Sardar did not deny knowing the woman, who hails from Leeds and comes from a business family.
"I will first see what report the police have written. Only then will I get back to reply all your questions. I was not engaged (to the complainant)," a visibly disturbed Sardar Singh told the media on Wednesday.
"I have just come from a game last night. I am concentrating on the next game," Sardar said, as he pulled himself away from the media questioning.
He is scheduled to participate in a match of the ongoing Hockey India League (HIL) on Thursday.
Sardar's father Gurnam Singh told reporters in Haryana's Sirsa district on Wednesday that his son knew the woman but denied both were engaged.
Punjab Police are investigating a complaint from the British national who alleged she was "sexually exploited" by her fiance Sardar.
She alleged that she was "mentally, physically and emotionally tortured".
The complainant was the first Sikh player in Britain's Under-19 women's hockey team.
Sardar got engaged in 2014, says the complainant
Investigations in the case have been marked to the Koom Kalan police station in the Ludhiana district. Police station in charge S.S. Nagra confirmed the matter was under probe following the complaint.
The woman had complained to Ludhiana Police Commissioner P.S. Umranangal, who marked an inquiry into it.
The woman alleged that Sardar Singh got engaged to her in 2014 and she became pregnant last year as a result of their physical relationship. She said he forced her to go for an abortion and began avoiding her thereafter.
The complainant said she met Sardar in 2012 after becoming friends through a social networking site. She claimed they began living together after their engagement.
In the past, Sardar had posted tweets and his photographs with the British woman.
Sources close to Sardar defended him, saying that he had withdrawn from the relationship with the British hockey player after she started putting pressure on him to marry her and settle down in the United Kingdom.
They said that Sardar, who remains busy in India due to his commitments with the national team and HIL, did not want to settle in the UK.
"She started black-mailing him through SMSes and phone calls to force him to settle in the UK," a close aide of Sardar said.