Kaushik quits as women’s hockey coach

July 21st, 2010 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Olympian M.K. Kaushik Wednesday quit as the national women’s hockey coach following charges of sexual harassment against him but maintained that the accusations were baseless and a conspiracy to tarnish his image.
“I am innocent. The allegations are baseless. I am hurt. My image is damaged. I have worked with all sincerity. I will think about my future only when my name is cleared,” said Kaushik, a day after a player Ranjitha Devi levelled charges of sexual harassment against the chief coach.

Asked what could have been the reason, Kaushik said: “Go and ask the players, why they have done so? She (Ranjitha Devi) has said this out of suspicion. Look at her performance from World Cup onwards. I don’t think she deserves a place on merit. The others are better. 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 side.”

Kaushik, whose contract was to expire in November after the Asian Games in China, said that during his 20-year stint with the women’s team none had pointed a finger towards his 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. 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 said.

The four-member committee set-up by Hockey India (HI) met both Kaushik and Ranjitha and heard their versions. Rajiv Mehta (chairman), former players Zafar Iqbal and Ajit Pal Singh and Sudharsan Pathak are the members of the committee.

“Kaushik has been deputed for this work by goverment of India. He was doing well. There are no allegations against him in the last 10 years. The committee will look into the matter. We also need to verify the girl’s claims as this has happened for the first time in Indian hockey,” said Pathak.

HI also sacked the videographer M. Basavaraja after photographs of him with a prostitute, during an overseas tour, surfaced in the media.

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