Soumyajit Ghosh placed under provisional suspension by TTFI

The paddler is dropped from the Commonwealth Games squad.

Soumyajit Ghosh is accused of rape by an 18-year-old girl.   -  R. Ragu

Facing allegations of sexual assault, Soumyajit Ghosh was provisionally suspended by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) here on Friday.

The decision ends Ghosh’s hopes of being part of the Indian squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The former National champion is presently in Bremen for the German Open. The table tennis squad for the Games is scheduled to depart on April 30.

Charges levelled 'of grievous nature'

As per the statement issued by the TTFI, “The Executive Board of the TTFI, taking cognizance of the media reports and the FIR filed against Soumyajit Ghosh, has unanimously decided to suspend the player and restrain him from participation in all tournaments until further orders.

“During its deliberations, the EB took notice of the IPC sections (376, 417, 513, 120 (B) and Section 4 of the POCSO Act) under which the Barasat Police (WB) has charged Ghosh. Accordingly, the EB members felt that the charges levelled against Ghosh are of grievous nature and they warranted placing him under provisional suspension immediately.

“The Executive Board also suggested to TTFI that the player and all authorities concerned should be informed forthwith of the decision.”

“The Executive Board deliberated the issue for over an hour to arrive at the decision,” said the TTFI secretary M. P. Singh. “As and when Ghosh proves his innocence in the court of law, the TTFI will lift the suspension.”

Read - Soumyajit Ghosh: I am a victim of blackmail and planned conspiracy

It was also decided to issue a show-cause notice to Ghosh to ascertain his point of view on the FIR lodged by the girl. Speaking to Sportstar, Ghosh said, “I am in touch with my lawyer and
will decide the course of action.”

Sanil Shetty to replace Ghosh

The TTFI has decided to replace Ghosh with Sanil Shetty in the CWG squad. As per the rules of “Late athlete replacement,” a country can send a replacement on grounds pertaining to “medical, appeals and extenuating circumstances.”

Part of rule 2.4 reads, “In all instances, evidence and supplementary documentation will be required.”

Shetty, already named as a reserve player, also meets the stipulation of being part of the CGA
Accreditation Longlist.

Expected to return on March 25, Ghosh now faces the grim prospect of being arrested, on arrival, by the investigating authorities. The ramifications include suspension of his employment by ONGC and being dropped from the Players’ Draft of Ultimate Table Tennis League on March 28. Further restrictions by the International Table Tennis Federation and Asian Table Tennis Union cannot be ruled out.

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