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Nepal axes Indian physio accused of sexual harassment

Belfast/Kathmandu: Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) on Friday terminated the contract of national team physio Aijaz Bashir Ashai after the Indian was accused of sexually assaulting a female masseuse in a Northern Ireland hotel where he and his team members were staying.

Also Read: Former Mumbai Ranji physio Dr Aijaz Ashai accused of molesting masseuse 

The incident took place on Tuesday at the La Mon Hotel in Belfast. Ashai had to appear in handcuffs at Ards Magistrates Court on Wednesday after spending a night in custody, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

The 42-year-old was with the Nepalese team which is competing in the World Twenty20 Qualifier being played in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland.

CAN Acting General Secretary Uttam Karmacharya said Ashai's contract was terminated with immediate effect. "As Ashai has been charged with molestation, we have decided to discontinue with the physio from today."

According to the report, a constable told the court that the physio wanted a full body massage and despite having been asked to don his underwear, he attended without them.

Ashai told the masseuse he was suffering in the buttock and groin area and grabbed her hands and forced them in between his legs while in a state of arousal. Ashai, who hails from Mumbai, later apologised to the masseuse and offered her a tip of 10 pounds which she refused.

Ashai's lawyer said he did go in for the massage but denied having forced himself on the masseuse.

The president and assistant manager of the Nepalese team attended the court proceedings, as did the event's liaison manager Christopher Elliot.

The lawyer also said the Nepalese team were prepared to arrange and pay for another hotel accommodation until the case was done and dusted with.

With a view to securing bail, he said a room had been booked in another hotel where Ashai's belongings could be transferred.

But Deputy District Judge Joe Rice said she did not want Ashai to be in a hotel which had leisure facilities for the risk of further committing another offence.

The lawyer reportedly agreed to a bail address in Newtownards which is walking distance to the police station and the court. Rice gave Ashai bail for 2,500 pounds on the condition that the Nepal team lodge a cash surety that he will reside at the new hotel, report to the police thrice a week, surrender his passport and make no contact with the witnesses.

The case was adjourned to August 12.

Ashai is also the head physio of the Indian rugby team and the West Zone Deodhar Trophy cricket team.

He is the Head of Department, Advanced Physiotherapy in Ortho, Neuro and Sports Rehabilitation in Saifee Hospital, Mumbai. Ashai also runs his own fitness and sports rehabilitation centre.

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