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

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Bengaluru/New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Arjuna award-winning Indian hockey player Varun Kumar was on Tuesday 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, 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," the Bengaluru Police said in a statement.

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. PTI SSC/UNG PM PM PM