Case against Hockey player Varun Kumar for allegedly raping minor

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Hockey player Varun Kumar

Hockey player Varun Kumar (File image)

Bengaluru: Indian Hockey player Varun Kumar has been booked under POCSO Act after a woman accused him of rape on multiple occasions promising to marry her, police said on Tuesday.

The woman, who currently works as an airline staff, claimed she was 17 years-old when she came in contact with Kumar, an Arjuna awardee, in 2018 while he was training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) here.

In the FIR, the woman alleged that Kumar approached her through Instagram and insisted on meeting her. He kept messaging her to meet but when she did not respond, he also asked his friends to convince her to meet him. When she met him, he expressed his liking towards her. They remained friends and slowly got into a relationship.

In July 2019, he took her out on the pretext of talking about their future to a hotel in Bengaluru's Jayanagar and made physical relationship with her despite being aware that she was a minor. She 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.

Later, he started distancing himself from her and stopped responding to her calls and messages. He even threatened to upload her photos on social media if she exerted pressure on him for marriage. She also accused him of cheating her, according to the FIR.

"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 police officer said.

Kumar, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, made his debut for India in 2017. The Himachal Pradesh government had also announced an award of Rs one crore for Kumar after the Indian men's Hockey team won the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He was also part of the Indian team that won silver in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.