The former India U17 Women’s team assistant coach who was accused of “sexual misconduct” during his stint with the national team has been granted transit anticipatory bail by the Additional Sessions Judge in Margao.
Earlier last month, police officials attached to the Dwarka police station showed up at the coach’s residence in Goa and took him to the nearby Colva police station. The said coach was pressed with charges under Section 12 and Section 23 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
While “making enquiries”, the said coach, according to documents submitted in court, developed chest pain for which he was taken to the district hospital in Margao where he was admitted and kept under observation. The coach in question was then served with a notice directing him to appear before the Dwarka police station on August 16, 2022, prompting him to file a transit anticipatory bail.
A transit anticipatory bail is granted to any person who is apprehending arrest by police of a state other than the state they are presently located in. In this case, the said coach is living in Goa, while the All India Football Federation (AIFF) filed the case in New Delhi. As a result, on Monday, Additional Sessions Judge Pooja Kavlekar granted the transit anticipatory bail “for a period of three weeks to enable the applicant to approach the competent Court for seeking appropriate relief”.
The state government, through senior inspector of police at Colva, did not file a say and were represented by the public prosecutor, while the senior inspector of police of Dwarka police station did not file a response. They were “served by registered A/D as well as email”.
The alleged incident took place during the U17 women’s team’s exposure tour to Europe in June earlier this year. Initially, the assistant coach was asked to return home midway through the tour and was later sacked by the AIFF, in whose employment he had been since 2018.
The AIFF initially said: “an event of misconduct has been reported in the U17 women’s team,” and provisionally suspended him—the coach was not named—pending further investigation. SY Qurashi, a member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the AIFF at the time, later tweeted: “The assistant coach has been sacked for sexual misconduct. Further action under process.”
However, the coach in question has stated in his transit anticipatory bail application that the termination letter did not mention the words “sexual misconduct”, rather only referred to “misconduct”.