Table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh is likely to be suspended and dropped from India's Commonwealth Games contingent after being accused of rape, a charge that was denied by the former national champion who claimed his accuser has been blackmailing him.
A complaint has been lodged at the Barasat women's police station in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, where the 24-year-old Arjuna awardee has been booked under the IPC sections for rape, criminal conspiracy, causing miscarriage without the woman's consent and cheating, the police said. The allegations have been levelled by an 18-year-old, the police added.
Ghosh, who is training in Germany for the April 4 to 15 CWG in Gold Coast, is set to be dropped from the national team, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Secretary MP Singh told PTI.
"The charges are very serious against Ghosh. I have called an executive committee meeting tomorrow. In my opinion, we have no option but to suspend him pending further investigations. Sanil Shetty has been in the reserves and will be his replacement for the Gold Coast Games," said Singh.
Ghosh denied the allegations, saying that the accuser has been blackmailing him after their relationship ended.
"Whatever she is saying is false as I haven't done anything wrong, we were together but then I wanted to focus on my career so I told her 'it is very difficult to be with you'," Ghosh said.
The other members of the Indian table tennis squad are G Sathiyan, A Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai.
However, a replacement for Ghosh may not be approved after the Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra said the Commonwealth Games Federation won't allow any such move.
"The matter has not reached the IOA yet but as far as I know, the rule states that a replacement would only be allowed if a particular player sustains injury or falls ill," Batra said.
Claiming innocence, the paddler said the girl has been blackmailing him for money and the allegations were a ploy to ruin his career.
"After I broke things off with her, she started blackmailing me, my family and my friend circle. From the last one and a half year, she has been trying to threaten and blackmail us.
"I don't know what happened, I think this is part of a plan just before I am to leave for the Commonwealth Games. She is doing this to ruin my career," he said.
Ghosh also stated that he has not got any word from the TTFI on his impending suspension.
"I have not got any information about my suspension and will have to talk to the Table Tennis Federation of India," Ghosh said.