KATHMANDU: Nepali cricket star Sandeep Lamichhane defended failing to return home to face rape allegations almost three weeks after an arrest warrant, saying he intends to do so “as soon as possible”.

A Nepali court issued the warrant on September 8 following an allegation by a 17-year-old girl, but Lamichhane is thought to have remained in the Caribbean, where he was playing in a tournament.

With police believed to be preparing to file an arrest warrant with Interpol, Lamichhane on Sunday issued a statement on social media reiterating that the claims against him were baseless.

“News of the arrest warrant issued against me... made me mentally disturbed. I could not think what to do and what not to do,” he wrote.

“My health condition is gradually improving and I am planning to return to Nepal as soon as possible to vehemently fight back [against the allegations].”

Lamichhane, 22, had been a poster boy for the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018.

The leg spinner’s big break came when he was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the money-spinning Indian Premier League in 2018, and he has since been Nepal’s most-sought-after cricketer.

After the arrest warrant he was suspended as captain of the national team and the player pulled out of the Caribbean Premier League, where he was playing for Jamaica Tallawahs.

The social media post did not reveal his whereabouts but he is believed to still be in the Caribbean.

The teenage girl, along with her guardian, filed a complaint against the player earlier this month, alleging that he raped her in a Kathmandu hotel room in August.

Police official Bharat Bohora on Monday declined to comment on Lamichhane’s latest comments, saying that investigators have had no contact with the cricketer.

“The police is investigating the rape complaint filed against Sandeep Lamichhane. The investigation is on a preliminary stage,” Bohora said.

The accusations against the cricketer come after popular Nepali actor Paul Shah was sentenced to two and a half years in prison this month for sexual misconduct with a minor.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...
Losing grip
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Losing grip

The state and the government are responsible for providing Imran with the security he deserves as a former prime minister.
Telling silence
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Telling silence

THE silence of the Sindh government over the recent exposé in this paper about Karachi’s water tanker mafia ...
Palestine escalation
29 Jan, 2023

Palestine escalation

THE fire of conflict once again threatens to envelop the land of Palestine, as the growing cycle of violence refuses...