| Nabi at the Melbourne magistrate’s court. (AP)
New Delhi, March 15: Diwan Asgar Nabi, a masseur with the Indian team at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne accused of sexually assaulting a local girl, pulled strings to get into the contingent at the last moment.
Nabi, attached to the Sports Authority of India centre in Patiala and originally from Howrah in Bengal, today received extension of bail till Friday.
After an inquiry, in which the 16-year-old volunteer identified Nabi, Victoria police charged the Indian on one count of indecent assault and one count of unlawful assault. He is accused of attempting to hug, kiss and fondle the girl when she went to his room on house-keeping work on Monday.
The charges, if proved, carry a maximum of two years’ imprisonment. Nabi, 35, has denied the charges.
Sources at SAI Patiala said Nabi, who has been working there on contract, holds no formal degree as a masseur and could not be made permanent since he does not even possess a Class X certificate.
“Either Rudraiah or Nagraj from Bangalore was supposed to go. But at the last moment, a top officer of SAI deleted their names and included Nabi. This man has absolutely no credentials,” said a senior SAI official in Patiala.
SAI has three posts for masseurs and all of them are sanctioned to the south centre in Bangalore. “All three hold certificates, which they received after undergoing a course under Russian experts,” a source said.
“Nabi has no such certificate and has apparently learned the trade from a private doctor in Delhi.”
Nabi came to Patiala around 10 years ago and was appointed on contract by the then executive director, D.K. Tandon. An officer at the SAI medical centre in Patiala said Nabi’s name was recommended by a senior Congress politician in Delhi.
“He later submitted a matriculation certificate, which was proved to be a false one after some days,” the officer said.
Nabi’s brother Diwan Nasiruddin, also working as a masseur in Patiala, said: “My brother has been falsely implicated. Everyone around here knows how good a person he is.”
Victoria police have confiscated his passport and he was suspended from the Indian contingent and expelled from the Games village yesterday.
An Indian coach said “we are being looked down upon by athletes from other countries in the village” after the incident.