TWO INDIAN nationals, one of them linked to the in-stadia rights-holder of the ongoing India-Zimbabwe ODI series, have been arrested on alleged rape charges in Harare, said local police.
The two accused were identified as Krishna Satyanarayan, who is associated with ITW Sports, and Rajkumar Krishnan, a Zambia-based businessman.
Satyanarayan works as a consultant for iTeamWorks, an affiliate company of ITW. A June 11 press release by Zimbabwe Cricket had described him as the co-founder of ITW Sports.
Satyanarayan and Krishnan were staying at Meikles Hotel, where the rape is alleged to have occurred, police said. The hotel also houses the Indian cricket team, which led to early speculation by a website newzimbabwe.com linking one of the cricketers to the alleged incident — the report was dismissed by officials.
The Indian cricket camp, meanwhile, heaved a collective sigh of relief after the identities of those facing the rape charges were confirmed. The cricketers had spent the day volleying awkward questions and phone calls from back home following the website report. They were informed that the issue was sorted out when they arrived at their hotel after having spent the afternoon watching the movie, You Can See Me 2.
Many in the Indian camp said that had spotted Satyanarayan at the ground and as well as inside the hotel on many occasions.
“Thank God, it’s sorted now. Some of us didn’t even know something like this had happened. So when we started getting calls from back home, we were shocked,” said an Indian player, on the condition of anonymity.
“Some of my friends called me and said, ‘yeh kya kar diya’. I got really angry. It’s very annoying when the media runs such baseless stories without knowing the facts, and the impact it has on us,” said another cricketer.
Charity Charamba, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), said the two Indians faced rape charges based a complaint by a Zimbabwean woman on Friday morning.
“Two Indian nationals, Krishna Satyanarayan, aged 33, and Rajkumar Krishnan were arrested on rape charges. The girl was based in South Africa and attending a funeral in Harare. She was staying at the same hotel as those two and alleged that she was raped by them. Police have confirmed that the woman was raped. The two accused were taken to court and remanded in custody yesterday. They will apply for bail in the High Court on Monday,” Charamba told The Indian Express.
Murali Srinivasan, CEO of Technolog Frontier, with ITW as one of its arms, said he had heard about Satyanarayan’s alleged involvement in the incident. “He is not from our company. He is from one of our affiliate companies (iTeamWorks). That company deals in ground activities. What I have heard is that he was arrested on alleged charges of molestation,” Srinivasan told The Indian Express.
iTeamWorks, in a email titled “Zimbabwe Molestation Case”, expressed shock at the incident. “We are at this stage trying to ascertain the exact facts of the case and the nature of allegations. We will provide our full co-operation to the concerned authorities,” the statement said.