India hockey player Varun Kumar accused of rape, booked under POCSO act

PTI, Feb 6, 2024, 7:31 PM IST

Varun Kumar

Bengaluru/New Delhi: Arjuna award-winning Indian hockey player Varun Kumar has been booked under the stringent POCSO act by the Bengaluru Police after a woman accused the defender of sexually abusing her multiple times when she was a minor.

The 22-year-old, in her complaint filed on Monday, said that she came in contact with Varun in 2018 through Instagram, and the player raped her on multiple occasions promising her of marriage when she was 17.

She said Varun was training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru when she met him. Varun, who was awarded the Arjuna in 2021, was recently promoted as a DSP in Punjab Police.

“Based on the complaint received from the woman, we have registered a case on Monday against the Hockey player under appropriate section of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code,” a senior Bengaluru Police officer said on Tuesday.

Varun, who was in the Indian standby list for the Tokyo Olympics, is currently training with the national squad in Bhubaneswar for the upcoming FIH Pro League. India are scheduled to face Spain in their opening encounter on February 10.

There was speculation that Varun, a 2022 Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, is on the run, but Hockey India rubbished the rumour.

“He is not absconding. He is in Bhubaneswar with the team,” a Hockey India source told PTI.

Varun, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, made his debut for India in 2017.

In the FIR, the woman has alleged that Varun insisted on meeting her after they got in touch on Instagram and she relented after some of his friends convinced her.

The two eventually became friends and got into a relationship.

According the woman, he took her to a hotel in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar in July 2019 and made physical relations with her despite being aware that she was a minor. She said she had resisted but he promised to take their relationship a step further and marry her later.

“She accused him of getting physical with her on several occasions over the five-year long relationship she shared with him on the pretext of marriage,” the FIR stated.

The woman alleged that he started distancing himself from her and stopped responding to her calls and messages after her father died last year.

According to her FIR, Varun paid her a visit after the tragedy but stopped communicating after that.

She said that Varun resumed communication with her when she approached the police on a previous ocassion. However, he again distanced himself when she persisted on the topic of marriage.

He then threatened to upload her photos on social media if she exerted pressure on him.

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