IOA treasurer booked for sexual assault of handball player

A case of rape has been registered against Anandeshwar Pandey, general secretary of the UP Olympic Association, at Bhiwadi police station in Rajasthan.

A handball player has lodged an FIR against Pandey, also the treasurer of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), alleging sexual assault.

Seema Sharma, a former national-level handball player of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), has filed the complaint against Pandey, who was also the secretary general of the Handball Federation of India (HFI) from 2013 to 2020.

The FIR was registered at the Mahila Police Station at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan on Sunday under IPC section of 376 (rape), 511 (attempt to commit an offence) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

In her complaint, Sharma has accused Pandey of trying to rape her at the UPOA’s office in Lucknow in March this year. The zero FIR has now been transferred to Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station.

“It was a zero FIR and has the sections of sexual assault. The case was transferred to Lucknow on Monday,” said SHO of Mahila Police Station Bhiwadi.

Sharma, a constable in the 4th battalion of SSB in Mohanlalganj here, had also sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 31, detailing the incident and calling for his intervention in the matter.

As per the complaint, 28-year-old Sharma said she met Pandey during the selection trials for the National Women Handball Championships.

The trials were organised at the K.D. Singh Babu Stadium on March 12. She said she made it to the camp and before the final selection on March 26, she was asked to go to Pandey’s office by her coach, where he allegedly misbehaved and molested her, according to the FIR.

Sharma wrote in her complaint that she resisted his advances during which her jersey got torn. “He then threatened me with dire consequences and said he is very powerful and will end my playing career,” she said in her complaint.

“I informed my higher officials about this incident,” said Sharma, who has represented Uttar Pradesh in sub-junior, junior and senior level national championships.

Sharma alleged that Pandey is a repeat offender and has finished the careers of many handball players but nobody dared to report against him because he is “powerful and well connected.”

Pandey was also in the news last week as pictures of him in compromising positions with different women went viral on social media. Pandey had alleged “political conspiracy” in the whole issue, and said he had filed a complaint with the Lucknow Police cyber cell about the pictures.

A former national-level runner, Pandey started his career as a handball player and first represented Uttar Pradesh in the nationals in 1977-78.

He is also chairman of the Coordination Committee for the upcoming National Games set to be held in Ahmedabad from September 27.

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