Accused of rape, Arjuna awardee Varun Kumar withdraws from FIH Pro League

Varun has been booked by the Bengaluru Police after a woman accused the hockey player of sexually abusing her multiple times when she was a minor.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 08, 2024 | 6:46 PMUpdatedFeb 08, 2024 | 6:46 PM

Varun Kumar

Following rape allegations against him, Indian hockey player Varun Kumar on Thursday, 8 February, described it as a “calculated attempt to extort money” from him.

He has also withdrawn from the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar to explore his legal options against the allegation.

The 28-year-old has been granted “urgent leave” from national duty by Hockey India after he stated that the incident has taken a toll on his “physical and mental health”.

Varun has been booked by the Bengaluru Police after a woman accused the defender of sexually abusing her multiple times when she was a minor.

Also Read: Bengaluru police collect evidence in rape accuse against Varun Kumar

Letter to Hockey India president

The 22-year-old, in her complaint filed on Monday, said that she came in contact with Varun in 2018 through Instagram, and the player raped her on multiple occasions promising her marriage when she was 17.

In a letter to Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, Varun claimed that the complaint against him is false and a misuse of the “state machinery”, reported PTI.

“Through media reports, I got to know that a false and frivolous case has been filed against me by a girl with whom I was in a relationship previously and the said case has been culminated into an FIR in Bengaluru though I have not been contacted by any police official in this regard,” Varun’s letter, sent on Wednesday to Tirkey, read.

“The aforesaid case is nothing but a calculated attempt to extort money out of me and to tarnish my reputation and image as I’m an accomplished hockey player having played for India and being an Arjuna Awardee and she knows that such a case could hamper my career and image.”

To fight legally

Varun, who was with the Indian team in Bhubaneswar for the Pro League matches, said he would fight the allegations legally.

“…in order to avail my legal remedies and legal rights I would require urgent leave from the academy and furthermore given the circumstances, I will unfortunately not be in a position to participate in the Pro League,” Varun wrote.

“This incident has taken a toll on my physical and mental health and this is a very tough time for me and my family…being a sportsperson I have always been taught to fight till the very end and therefore I request your support in these difficult times,” he added.

Besides Tirkey, the letter has also been sent to men’s team chief coach Craig Fulton and HI secretary general Bholanath Singh.

According to HI sources, the victim was a volleyball player at the National Centre of Excellence in SAI, Bengaluru and the relationship between the two started there.

However, she is no longer an athlete.

Also Read: Crimes against children not hidden, criminals are punished: NCPCR 

The FIR

In the FIR, the woman 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 entered into a relationship.

According to the woman, he took her to a hotel in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar in July 2019 and had 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 passed away 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.

Varun hails from Himachal Pradesh, and made his debut for India in 2017. He was promoted as a DSP in Punjab Police. He was bestowed the Arjuna award in 2021 and was a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games silver-winning team.

(With PTI inputs)