Footballer held for ‘rape’, hunt on for 2 more

East Bengal footballer

The Dum Dum police have arrested an East Bengal footballer for the alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl and were on the lookout for two more footballers, including a former India international, who were also allegedly involved in the crime.

East Bengal midfielder Jagpreet Singh was arrested late Tuesday night along with his cook Ravi Singh for the alleged rape at the footballer's flat in Diamond City North residential complex. A Barrackpore sub-divisional court on Wednesday remanded the two in 14-day judicial custody after the girl gave her statement.

"We sent the girl for medical examination," said a top officer of the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate.

The police said they were looking for the two other accused — former India player Baldeep Singh, who plays for United Sports, and another footballer, Jaspal Singh alias Joseph, who recently quit East Bengal.

The girl's father has lodged a complaint alleging that the four raped his daughter at Jagpreet's flat Monday afternoon. According to the police, the cook, who knew the girl, allegedly took her to the second-floor flat Monday afternoon to help in cleaning up. The girl returned home in the evening and told her family members about the rape.

On Wednesday, United Sports said it has terminated Baldeep's contract until his innocence is proved. "We have terminated Baldeep's contract with immediate effect. Till he's proven innocent, his contract remains null and void," said United Sports director Nawab Bhattacharya.

Another United Sports official, Alokesh Kundu, said, "He (Baldeep) was at the India camp for the Nehru Cup but had to return as he picked up an injury. He came to practice even on Tuesday. But after that we couldn't contact him."

East Bengal, however, stood by Jagpreet, saying he was innocent. Club official Debabrata Sarkar said Jagpreet was in the team dressing room at the Salt Lake Stadium from noon on Monday as he was preparing with other players for the I-League match against Pune FC. "Let law take its own course but how can he be at the scene of the crime when he was with us when the incident happened," Sarkar said. "As far as Jaspal is concerned, we released him on October 26 and we don't have any information about him."

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