Bengaluru Police probing rape charges against Indian national team Hockey player Varun Kumar said they are collecting evidence, scanning through Call detail records, messages and voice notes exchanged between him and the alleged victim as part of the ongoing investigation.
The police would soon be approaching the 28-year-old to join the probe, they said.
"We are investigating the case and are collecting the required evidence. We have not approached Kumar yet. He is out of Karnataka, so we will be contacting him soon to join the probe. We have not sent any teams to his place where he is currently undergoing training. If he comes, fine, or we will have to send our team there," a senior police officer told PTI.
"We have already started collecting evidence. We are scanning through messages exchanged between the victim and Kumar, the voice notes, call detail records. We would also be approaching their mutual friends to record statements," he said.
POCSO Act and Charges Against Varun Kumar
Kumar has been booked under the stringent POCSO act by the Bengaluru Police after a woman accused him 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 Kumar in 2018 through Instagram, and the player raped her on multiple occasions promising her of marriage when she was 17.
She said Kumar was training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru when she met him.
Varun Kumar's Sports Background
Kumar, who got the Arjuna award 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.
Kumar, who was on 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 Kumar, part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games silver-medal winning Indian team, is on the run, but Hockey India rubbished the rumour.
Kumar, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, made his debut for India in 2017.
Timeline of Alleged Incidents
In the FIR, the woman has alleged that Kumar 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 to 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 at the time. 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 the FIR, Kumar paid her a visit to offer condolences but stopped communicating after that. She said that Kumar resumed communication with her when she tried to approach the police on a previous occasion. 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.