Swapna Barman claims innocence in timber scandal case

Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman's house was raided by forest department officials for alleged illegal possession of timber.

Swapna Barman during the Javelin Throw for Heptathlon at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AP


Asian Games gold medal winning heptathlete Swapna Barman, whose home at Kaliaganj village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal was raided by forest department officials for alleged illegal possession of timber, claimed that she 'did not steal' anything.

Swapna, who is constructing a house, said she purchased three logs of wood from a local man. "These logs flow in the waters of Teesta river and people here make use of such logs. A local man gave us the timber at a reasonable price. I have paid only 50 per cent of the money so far. I did not have any wrong intention. If I had stolen the timber, why would I keep it here and stay here to damage my reputation?" Swapna said on Tuesday.

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"Someone did this intentionally. The police (forest officials) made a video of the incident despite my request not to do so. They have given a 30-day notice to produce a supporting document (of the purchase)," she added.

Her coach Subhash Sarkar, who is based in Kolkata, said the issue was blown out of proportion because of Swapna's stature. "Since Swapna is  a well-known athlete, the incident got more highlighted," said Sarkar.

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