Hockey scandal: It`s a conspiracy, says coach

New Delhi: Stunned by allegations of sexual
harassment against him, Indian women`s hockey coach M K
Kaushik said the scandal is a conspiracy hatched by
players who failed to get a place in the national side.

"This is a big-time conspiracy against me with many hands
behind it. Those who failed to earn a place in the national
team have come out with such a cheap act," Kaushik told

Kaushik has withdrawn from the Asian Champions Trophy in
South Korea from July 27, insisting that it was his moral duty
to step aside until proven innocent.

"I will prove my innocence. I can`t believe that one can
go to such an extent to level charges against me," he said.

Indian Hockey yesterday plunged into a moral crisis after
a member of the women`s team sent a written complaint to the
federation officials alleging sexual harassment by
videographer Basavraj and a member of coaching staff.

Hockey India has sacked the videographer after
photographs of him with a prostitute during March-April China
Tour surfaced in the media.

A four-member inquiry committee has been formed to look
into the sex scandal. The committee comprises Rajiv Mehta
(chairman), former players Zafar Iqbal and Ajit Pal Singh and
Sudharsan Pathak.

Kaushik said the allegations against him are baseless and
he is confident of coming out of the crisis clean.

"With my name associated with this scandal, how can I go
to the stadium with the team? No question arises of me
accompanying the team to South Korea. I am not in the position
to lead the side there and work with mental peace," said
Kaushik, who had mentored the side to the 2002 Manchester
Commonwealth Games gold medal triumph.

Kaushik said the allegation has sullied his 20-year-old
father-like image in the team as he never thought players
would go to such an extent to fulfill their vested interests.

"Go and ask the players, why they have done so? I have
always maintained that those players who will play to their
fullest will remain in the team. Your performance will
ultimately be counted and help in cementing your place in the

"In the last 20 years as women`s hockey team coach, no
one pointed a finger towards my integrity. My players have
always treated me like a father-figure. It`s difficult to
understand what prompted them to come out with such false
charges against me," Kaushik wondered.

Kaushik said he has not spoken to any of the players over
phone after the scandal broke out yesterday and will continue
to maintain silence until proven innocent.

"What is left for me to speak about? Truth will come out
soon and I will treat this incident as an eye-opener for me.
I`ll urge the media to go and ask these players why they have
done it?"

Kaushik`s contract as will expire in November this year
after the Asian Games in China.



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