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India hockey player accused of raping minor

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Arjuna award-winning Indian hockey player Varun Kumar was on Tuesday (6) 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, said that she came in contact with Varun in 2018 through Instagram, and the player raped her on multiple occasions promising to marry her.

She said Varun was training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru when she met him.

“Based on the complaint received from the woman, we have registered a case on Monday (5) against the hockey player under the appropriate section of the 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, a defender, is currently training with the national squad in Bhubaneswar for the upcoming FIH Pro League. India is scheduled to face Spain in their opening encounter on February 10. He made his debut for India in 2017 and won the Arjuna award in 2021.

There were reports that Varun is on the run, but Hockey India has rubbished the rumour. “He is not absconding. He is in Bhubaneswar with the team,” a Hockey India source told PTI.

In the FIR, the woman 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 to the woman, Varun took her to a hotel in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar in July 2019 and got into a physical relationship despite being aware that she was a minor. When she resisted, he promised to marry her later.

“She accused him of getting physical with her on several occasions over the five-year-long relationship she shared with him,” 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. He even threatened to upload her photos on social media if she exerted pressure on him for marriage.

Varun hails from Himachal Pradesh and recently got promoted to DSP in Punjab Police. (PTI)

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