Rattled by allegations of sexual harassment, Indian women’s hockey coach MK Kaushik on Wednesday withdrew from the team’s upcoming tours even as Hockey India sacked the videographer Basavraj whose photographs with a prostitute plunged the game into a moral crisis.
Kaushik has withdrawn himself from the Asian Champions Trophy in Korea from July 27 pending an inquiry into the sex scandal by a four-member panel comprising Rajiv Mehta (chairman), former players Zafar Iqbal and Ajit Pal Singh and Sudharsan Pathak.
"I must talk to the coach and the girl who has made the allegations of sexual harassment separately. Kaushik has withdrawn his name because he wants his name to be cleared," HI President Vidya Stokes said.
"In the meanwhile, the assistant coach will travel with the team. Hopefully, everything would be sorted out by today," she said.
"We will have to look for a new coach and that would be done after consulting the Sports Authority of India," added HI’s Secretary General Narinder Batra.
HI will also form a five-member committee as per Supreme Court guidelines on sexual harassment cases.
"As per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, we will have a panel in which at least half or more than half the members would be women. This would be done by tomorrow and hopefully it would give its recommendations before next month’s World Cup in Argentina so that we can either have a new coach or reinstate Kaushik if he is found innocent," Batra said.
Batra said he received an anonymous mail on last Friday, in which allegations had been levelled against Basavraj for having been involved with prostitutes during the tours of Canada and China.
He said five photographs of the videographer with the prostitutes had also been mailed to him. Batra said the Sport Ministry has been apprised of the complaints.
"The inquiry committee was constituted soon after I got a mail from the hockey team. After a meeting on July 19, it was decided that the videographer should be suspended and the rest of staff against whom the allegations have been made should be issued notices," he said.
"The videographer is basically a SAI employee and it is upto them now, how they want to act against him. On our part we have sacked him," Batra said.
Asked what punishment HI would hand out to the coaching staff if found guilty, Batra said, "The best we can do is impose life bans but if we can take up the matter with the police and take it to the logical conclusion, we can do that as well."
Kaushik will attend the probe panel’s meeting this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the defunct Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill said HI was trying to hush up the matter.
"There should be a proper police inquiry into it. The Supreme Court has stated that whenever a lady makes a sexual harassment allegations, her complaint should be taken on face value," he said.
"This inquiry is an eyewash. It should be handed over to the police. I know these people, at the end of the inquiry they will come out and say, nothing happened," he alleged. (PTI)