Para-swimmer Prasanta Karmakar suspended by PCI for recording videos of female swimmers; athlete refutes charges

Para-swimmer Prasanta Karmakar was suspended on Thursday for three years by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) for recording videos of female swimmers at the National Swimming Championships in Jaipur last year.

The PCI revealed that a written complaint was received against Karmakar regarding acts of misconduct, misbehaviour and manhandling by the Arjuna awardee swimmer.

Indian swimmer Prasanta Karmakar (R) bronze medallist poses during the medal ceremony for the final of the Men's 50 metre freestyle S9 for The Commonwealth Games at the S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Centre in New Delhi on October 6, 2010. The Commonwealth Games are taking place in the Indian capital from October 3-14. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

File photo of Prasanta Karmakar. AFP

According to PCI's statement, Karmakar was reported to have asked an associate to make video films of female swimmers during the event. After parents complained, his associate told the Chairman of Para-Swimming, PCI, Dr VK Dabas, that the camera was given to him by Karmakar under instructions to record the swimmers.

After the incident, Karmakar himself was caught recording videos of female swimmers with a tripod camera even after the parents complained. Despite being asked to delete the video, Karmakar refused and went on to question why his associate was stopped from recording.

Karmakar was reported to then have asked for written objections, on which the objecting parents immediately submitted their written complaints. Yet, Karmakar refused to delete the videos.

According to ANIKarmakar was detained by the police and was only released after he agreed to delete the videos recorded by him and his associate.

However, Karmakar vehemently denied the charges and instead, accused the PCI of a 'pre-planned conspiracy.'

Defending himself, Karmakar said that he wanted a list containing names of 'several awardees who have claimed medals on the basis of fake certificates.'

"The incident at Jaipur was manipulated against me. I teach six to seven swimmers and they reside in my training school. The father of one of the girls was recording a video of our swimmers. The PCI manipulated the entire situation and made it an issue against me. A baseless complaint was lodged against me at the police station but no FIR was filed. I will get to the bottom of this matter," Karmakar told The Indian Express.

However, according to PCI's Secretary-General J Chandrashekar, this wasn't an isolated incident and there have been numerous complaints against Karmakar before.

The report quotes Chandrashekar saying, "Various athletes (men and women) had accused Karmakar of a similar offence earlier. Hence, we wanted a thorough probe of the charges. The disciplinary committee was immediately formed after the National Championships and the verdict was given out in January 2018."

Karmakar is one of India's most decorated athletes and has won numerous accolades for the country. He was the first Indian para-swimmer to participate and win a medal at the 2003 World Swimming Championships. A 2010 Commonwealth Games medallist, Karmakar was also the national champion for 16 consecutive years and was India's swimming coach at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 15:24 PM

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