Sardar Singh sexual assault case: The girl's face was bruised, say teammates
Even as India hockey captain Sardar Singh denies allegations levied on him by 21-year-old lass Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, at least two current India hockey players have told mid-day that there was some animosity between the couple which they were witness to.
August 5, 2014: India hockey captain Sardar Singh with Ashpal Kaur Bhogal at the IGI Airport in New Delhi after returning from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Pic/Getty Images
Bhogal, a British hockey player of Indian origin, filed a complaint with Ludhiana police yesterday claiming she has been engaged to Sardar for the past four years, and that he "mentally, physically, emotionally tortured." Sardar told mediapersons yesterday that he knew the girl, but "it is wrong to say I assaulted her."
"It's a very serious allegation. I will consult my lawyer. I will answer all questions, but I need some time," added the 29-year-old hockey star. However, Sardar's India teammates revealed to mid-day that there was indeed some tension between the couple during the 2015 FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals in Belgium (June 20-July 5) where India finished fourth.
"This girl has been associated with Sardar for quite some time and even traveled for our matches. But we realised there was a problem between them during the Hockey World League in Antwerp last year," said an India player on condition of anonymity.
"The Indian team was staying at Crowne Plaza Hotel and this girl had also booked a room there. One evening when we returned from practice, we saw a couple of Belgium police officers at our hotel. They had come on a bike and went straight to Sardar's room. That's when we learnt of the argument between Sardar and this girl, and that she had called the cops."
Another player said that the fight had turned physical. "We didn't see what happened between Sardar and the girl, since it happened inside the room. But the next day, when we all came to the restaurant for breakfast, she was there too, and her face was battered and bruised. As a team, we never discussed this issue, but later learnt from the hotel staff that the argument had turned violent. We were told that the cops went away only because the couple stressed that it was a personal matter, and the girl did not wish to press charges," added the second player.
Incidentally, in August last year, the storm between the two seemed to have settled, with Bhogal sharing a photograph with Sardar on Twitter, claiming they were to marry soon.
"Such an amazing day with @8_SardarSingh. Excited to finally have confirmed the date we will be officially tying the knot. #weddingbells," she had tweeted, leading to a number of media reports announcing Sardar's wedding. Sardar did not respond to calls and text messages from this correspondent.