Sardar Singh called for questioning, Hockey India fumes

A day after the Indian hockey team thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 7-1 in the Hockey World League semifinals, there was trouble for former captain Sardar Singh.

Indian team officials claim that it was nothing more than pressure tactics to harass Sardar Singh mentally before the important game against Pakistan.   -  K. Murali Kumar

A day after the Indian hockey team thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 7-1 in the Hockey World League semifinals, there was trouble for former captain Sardar Singh, who was called up for questioning by the Yorkshire police, in connection with a-year-old sexual assault case.

With the Indian team in London for the tournament, the team management is said to be quite upset about the fact that Sardar was called up for questioning in the middle of the competition without any prior information. Sardar was last year accused by British-Indian hockey player Ashpal Bhogal, insisting to be his ex-fiancé, of rape and assault both in India and UK.

“The team is in London, he has been called to Leeds for questioning. We do not even know whether it is a new case or the same old one. If it was the old one, it makes no sense for the police to wait for more than 10 days since we came here. Sardar is not here discreetly or fraudulently, he is playing in a major competition with the team and travelled with everyone. The cities are almost 200 miles away, which means a travel of at least 10-12 hours, and there is a crucial match against Holland on Tuesday,” an upset team management told Sportstar.

In fact, officials claim that it was nothing more than pressure tactics to harass Sardar mentally before an important game.

“We were informed by the police just before the game against Pakistan. It came directly from the authorities and no Indian diplomatic representative was even aware of it. Everyone knows how important these matches are. We did not inform Sardar about it to make sure he played freely but this is sheer harassment and nothing else,” officials fumed.

While Hockey India officially refused to comment on the matter, Bhogal herself expressed satisfaction and told Sportstar that she “believed in the British law and that justice would be done here”. Bhogal had accused Sardar in January last year of forming a physical relationship by falsely promising marriage and forcing her to abort.