Sexual violence
Veera Lankaiah is alleged to have demanded bribes or sexual favours in return for a form the players required.
Image: By arrangement

Andhra Pradesh State Kabaddi Association general secretary V Veera Lankaiah has been accused of sexual harassment and corruption by several women players. In May, several players, along with Krishna district secretary and coach Y Srikanth, filed a complaint with Vijayawada’s Commissioner of Police.

Speaking to TNM, coach Y Srikanth demanded that Lankaiah be immediately removed and necessary action be initiated.

"There are more than 15 women players who were harassed by Veera Lankaiah. He has abused his power. He either asked for a bribe or sexual favours from women players. Many are not coming forward due to fear."

“He sold many Form-2 certificates for lakhs of rupees. The government must seize his assets and properties and attach them to Kabaddi Association for its welfare because of the money he has received by demanding bribes from players,” he added.

Srikanth said that despite several allegations and corruption, Lankaiah still holds the position as general secretary of the AP Kabaddi Association.

"He is running a monopoly in the Association for the last 30 years,” he said. He termed the inaction against Lankaiah as a "violation" of the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act.

Women players who played at state and national-level meets and qualified for jobs under the sports quota required a Form-2 (approval of participation), a form that they had to get from Lankaiah. In return for the form, players said that Lankaiah threatened them and demanded bribes and/or sexual favours.

Speaking to the media earlier, one of the players said: “When I went to get my certificate, he demanded Rs 4 lakh. He said that otherwise, I could go wherever he takes me.”

Another player who went to ask the Form-2 from Lankaiah, said, "When I went to ask him for the Form-2, he said ‘But will I get any advantage? Can you give anything to me?’”

The player also said that Lankaiah has harassed many women players who sought his assistance or sought clearance in selections, or when asked for a Form-2.

The players also alleged that many women players cut short their career in Kabaddi due to sexual harassment from Lankaiah.

On May 11, a case was registered at Vijayawada’s Machavaram Police Station based on the complaints given by five women kabaddi players under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with an intention to outrage her modesty), 385 (threatening a person for extortion) and 409 (criminal breach of trust).

On May 16, Veera Lankaiah reportedly surrendered before the fourth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court and was sent to judicial custody.

In a dramatic turn of events on May 21, Lankaiah —  who was out on bail — held an emergency meeting of the Association along with its president KE Prabhakar and dissolved the Krishna District Kabaddi Association Committee for not approaching the state body regarding the irregularities. Srikanth was also suspended at the same meeting on charges of indiscipline.

At the time, responding to the accusations against Lankaiah, KE Prabhakar said, "Veera Lankaiah has been known to us for the last two decades. His service to the association and kabaddi should be remembered before levelling any charges against him”.

Speaking to TNM, Srikanth said that he has faith in Chandrababu Naidu's government and that there were not taking up any protest at the moment, but expect speedy action against Veera Lankaiah.

However, when TNM reached out to Andhra Pradesh Women Rights Commission chairperson Nannapaneni Rajakumari, she said that the matter had not been brought to her notice.

"It has not come to my notice, and nor has anyone brought it to my notice. No one has given any representation. If they give, we would definitely take the required action in this regard,” she said.