| Parvesh Rani and Rajwant Kaur come out of Raja Sansi Airport in Amritsar on Wednesday. (PTI)
Sept. 10: Two women cricketers who had disappeared with three others while on a tour in England returned to Amritsar today, while another was sighted with the team manager in Bradford, a caller reported to police in London.
Parvesh Rani, 25, and Rajwant Kaur, 24 — who were part of the 13-member team that took part in the Colwell Cricket Week in Herefordshire — landed amid high drama at Raja Sansi airport in Amritsar.
A verbal duel ensued between journalists and relatives of the two soon after they arrived by a Turkmenistan Airlines plane till police and airport authorities whisked them away when both sides came to blows.
“We will be questioning them soon. We will first have to ensure whether any offence was committed in India. Since their visas expired only today and they have returned, we will have to request the CBI to take up the matter with Interpol and trace the three other girls who are still missing,” said a police officer here.
Rajwant and Parvesh Rani had returned to their teammates on August 25, but refused to give the police details of their movements during the two weeks they had gone missing. Mandeep Virk, 19, Baljeet Kaur, 22, and Ekta Andotra, 21 — who had left with the team early in August for the month-long tour — are still missing. However, one of three appeared to have been seen with the team manager in Bradford.
“A caller in Bradford telephoned us to say they thought they had sighted one of the girls in the company of the team manager Ravi Sharma,” said London’s metropolitan police officer Nikki Honey of the Hounslow Missing Persons Unit. “We haven’t been able to speak to him about this yet. As yet, there is nothing definitive to prove it was them.”
Sergeant Vince Harte of the missing persons unit said the reported sighting could prove innocent. “Mr Sharma does have a daughter who is a player in the team, so there could be a simple explanation. But we will speak to him to see if he has been to Bradford. There have previously been no positive sightings of the three missing players and we still need to hear from anyone who may know their whereabouts.”
The police suspect Sharma’s travel agency, Lynex Tours, of being a front company operating an illegal immigration racket. Punjab police have confirmed that the girls’ families paid Sharma sums ranging from Rs 1 to 2.5 lakh.
Rajwant today said she had gone for sightseeing and stayed at Nottingham with one of her relatives Gurmeet Singh. “We left our fellow players at Hounslow and went to a relative’s place after sightseeing. We then lost contact with team manager Ravi Sharma but later came to know that the manager had lodged a report of five missing girls with the police.
“We called up Ambala to get the telephone number of Sharma and, after getting the number, we immediately informed Sharma, who produced us before the police,” she said. The two denied any contact with the other three missing girls.
Rajwant’s father Jagjit Singh, who also returned from London today, said in Jalandhar that he was planning to lodge an FIR against Sharma for cheating the players.
“We are going to file an FIR against Sharma for committing fraud, as he had assured a visa for six months to the players before revealing at the last minute that he could manage only a one-month visa,” he said.
“We had paid him Rs 2 lakh for getting a visa for six months but it was only at the time of departure at the Amritsar airport we came to know that only a one-month visa was obtained for the players,” he told reporters.