Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane vows to return home to fight rape claim | Cricket News

KATHMANDU: Nepalese cricket star Sandeep Lamichane defended not having returned home to face rape allegations nearly three weeks after an arrest warrant, saying he intended to do so “as soon as possible”.
A Nepalese court issued the warrant on September 8 following an allegation by a 17-year-old girl, but Lamichhane is believed to have remained in the Caribbean, where he was playing in a tournament.
As police prepared to file an arrest warrant with Interpol, Lamichhane released a statement on social media on Sunday reiterating that the charges against him were baseless.
“The news of the warrant for my arrest… made me mentally confused. I didn’t know what to do and what not to do,” he wrote.
“My health is gradually improving and I plan to return to Nepal as soon as possible to vehemently retaliate (against the allegations).”
Lamichhane, 22, had been the poster child for the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, which gained international status in one day in 2018.
The leg spinner’s big break came when he was signed by the Delhi Capitals for the money-making Indian Premier League in 2018, and he’s been Nepal’s most-wanted cricketer ever since.
After the arrest warrant, he was suspended as captain of the national team and the player retired from the Caribbean Premier League, where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs.
The social media post did not reveal his whereabouts, but he is believed to still be in the Caribbean.
The teenager, accompanied by her guardian, filed a complaint against the player earlier this month, alleging he raped her in a hotel room in Kathmandu in August.
Police chief Bharat Bohora declined to comment on Lamichhane’s latest comments on Monday, saying investigators had no contact with the cricketer.
“Police are investigating the rape complaint filed against Sandeep Lamichhane. The investigation is at a preliminary stage,” Bohora told AFP.
The charges against the cricketer come after popular Nepalese actor Paul Shah was sentenced this month to two and a half years in prison for sexual misconduct with a minor.
Police say around 2,300 cases of rape were reported in Nepal in the last fiscal year, but rights advocates say many more assaults go unreported.
Only a handful of women in Nepal spoke out during the #MeToo movement, and the defendants faced little to no repercussions over the allegations.
In May, hundreds demonstrated in Kathmandu for tougher laws and enforcement in cases of sexual violence after an aspiring model posted a series of TikTok videos detailing abuse when she was a teenager.

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