Bombay High Court drops charges against Olympian Dattu Bhokanal

Mumbai: Clearing the decks for the Olympian rower Dattu Bhokanal to participate at the World Rowing Championship in Austria, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed the criminal proceedings filed against him by his wife.

The gold medallist Olympian had been booked by the police for harassing and cheating his wife, who is a police constable. According to his wife, Bhokanal, a resident of Nashik, had harassed her physically and mentally.

She accused him of cheating as he had promised to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act but he failed to do so. On the other hand, Bhokanal claimed the allegations were baseless.

Accordingly, he petitioned a bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, seeking to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against him.

Bhokanal urged the bench to quash the FIR as these charges would prohibit his entry in the World Rowing Championship, to be held in Austria from August 25 to September 21.

He informed the bench that if the charges were not quashed, he would be barred from the contest and would not be able to represent India.

Having considered the facts of the case, the bench quashed the FIR saying, “There is no evidence or material placed before us by the wife to substantiate her allegations. Thus, we find that there is no material to prove the offence of harassment or cruelty and also cheating.”

Notably, Bhokanal was the only rower from India to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He had also won a gold in Men’s Quadruple Sculls in Indonesia at the 2018 Asian Games.

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