M A I N   N E W S

RCB player held for molestation
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
Incidents at a private party at a five-star hotel in Central Delhi last night led to the arrest of Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach for allegedly molesting a woman and severely injuring her fiance.

Pomersbach, who was playing for the Royal Challengers of Bangalore (RCB) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), was this morning arrested on the complaint of a US national of Iranian descent, Zohal Hamid (28). He was later produced in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate Navita Kumari Bagha. The Court granted him interim bail till Saturday.

In the court, the cricketer, possibly due to the excessively crowded room, fainted and was given water to revive himself. Luke was also provided consular access and officials of the Australian High Commission met him. In case of the woman, the US Embassy was informed.

The woman had, in her complaint, alleged that the cricketer had misbehaved with her and also manhandled her fiance Sahil Peerzada, an Indian national. A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment).

Meanwhile, IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla distanced himself: “We (IPL) no more have the concept of hosting parties after matches. The individual player’s conduct outside the field is not the IPL’s responsibility.” The RCB has suspended Luke. The police has written a letter to the hotel authorities demanding CCTV footage.

A police officer, narrating the sequence, said there was a party at Dublin, a discotheque at Maurya Sheraton hotel. Zohal Hamid told the police that Luke met Sahil at the disco and they struck up a conversation. “He tried to be nice to my fiance and said how about we go out for drinks. We left with our Mumbai friends and Luke followed us to our room. Sahil didn’t want to say no to him,” she told mediapersons.

According to the police, the cricketer, along with Sahil and Hamid, were present in the room till 5 am. Hamid further narrated to mediapersons that she had told the police, “Luke grabbed my hand and tried kissing me. Sahil stopped him and said that is my fiance and asked him (Luke) to leave the room. In retaliation, Luke started punching him in the face. Sahil fell back on a glass table, which broke and he started bleeding profusely. I thought he would rape me, so I ran outside and called for security.”

Luke, after beating her fiance, went away, but returned and started banging on the door of the couple’s room. Around 6.20 am, the woman called in police and rushed Sahil to the Primus Hospital in Chanakyapuri.

Hamid also alleged that five IPL players had threatened her to withdraw the case.




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