The Goa Police on Thursday registered a case of rape and criminal intimidation against a swimming coach along with offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The action was taken after a video of him molesting a 15-year-old had been widely shared on social media, which also attracted Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s attention.
Surajit Ganguly, a coach with the Goa Swimming Association, is accused of molesting the teenager, who was training under him. The association took cognisance of the matter and sacked the coach earlier on Thursday.
Inspector Kapil Nayak at Mapusa police station in Goa said that a case had been registered against Ganguly under Section 376 [rape], 354 [molestation] and 506 [criminal intimidation] of the Indian Penal Code along with offences under the POCSO Act and Goa Children’s Act.
Ganguly has reportedly left for Bhopal, but the police will send a team to track him, said Nayak. The coach and the minor are both from West Bengal. The Kolkata Police on Wednesday lodged a complaint against Ganguly and transferred it to the Goa Police.
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has promised to take strict action against the coach after the incident was brought to his attention on social media. “I’ve taken a strong view of the incident,” the minister tweeted on Thursday. “The Goa Swimming Association has terminated the contract of coach Surajit Ganguly. I’m asking the Swimming Federation of India to ensure that this coach is not employed anywhere in India. This applies to all Federations & disciplines.”
Swimming Federation of India President Digambar Kamat said that he had asked for a report from the state body on the episode. Kamat said that he had written to the sports authority of Goa to discontinue Ganguly’s services immediately. “He was recommended after many parents requested he be allowed to train students as he was a good coach,” NDTV quoted Kamat as saying.
Goa Swimming Association Secretary Syed Abdul Majid said that Ganguly’s contract had been terminated after they came across the video. “We appointed him because he had a good track record as a coach. There were no prior complaints [of misbehaviour] against him,” he told PTI.
The Goa Legislative Assembly, in 2017, had passed a resolution congratulating Ganguly and a few other coaches for their performance in the 63rd National Games.
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