Doctors failed to collect blood samples of allegedly inebriated player; police did not seize closed-circuit television footage

Less than 24 hours after the Delhi Police began investigations into a case of alleged molestation and assault by Indian Premier League player Luke Pomersbach, sources have told The Hindu that doctors did not gather blood samples that could hold the key to proving whether the Australian cricketer was inebriated.

A Delhi court also heard arguments that the police had failed to seize closed-circuit television camera footage installed at the hotel that could corroborate the Indian-American victim's statement and the contention of the accused that he was invited to the hotel suite where the incident allegedly happened.

Police say the control room had received a distress call at 6.23 a.m., claiming that a woman's boyfriend had been beaten up by an IPL player in their suite at Maurya Sheraton Hotel in central Delhi. They alleged that Pomersbach, who was staying in the hotel, was partying along with his teammates in a ground-floor hall to celebrate his RCB's victory over Delhi Daredevils on Thursday, when the victim and her fiancé also joined in.

Following a long session, the victim told investigators, the couple decided to retire to their suite. Pomersbach, she said, “tagged along.” Thinking that he would leave for his room after a couple of drinks with them, the couple allowed him into their suite, where they drank champagne.

But the victim told Metropolitan Magistrate Navita Kumari Bagha that Pomersbach later held her hand, turned her around and tried to kiss her.

The victim said her fiancé intervened and asked the cricketer to leave, but Pomersbach assaulted him.

Defence counsel Neeraj Chaudhary argued that there was a discrepancy between the victim's account, and the police charge of “house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint.” He pointed out that the victim herself told the court that he had “tagged along” with her to their suite.

Mr. Chaudhary asked why the police had not seized the CCTV footage, which he said would make it “crystal clear” whether or not Pomersbach had forcibly entered. He said the injuries to the fiancé were not serious, and that instead, it was the cricketer who was beaten up.

Pomersbach allegedly left the place, only to return and begin banging the door of the victims' suite, forcing them to call the police.

Having recorded the victim's statement, police took custody of Pomersbach from his room. “While the victim and her fiancé were taken to Primus Hospital, the accused was sent to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where doctors noted that he reeked of alcohol.” However, no blood samples were collected to corroborate this, a senior police official said.

Dramatic scenes unfolded in the cramped Mahila court at the Patiala House district court, when the 27-year-old player complained of uneasiness and fainted. The court granted one-day interim bail to Pomersbach. It directed police to produce his medical report, along with that of the victim, and coupled with the relevant footage of the closed-circuit television cameras installed at the hotel.

Victim alleges pressure

Giving a blow-by-blow account of the alleged assault to reporters, the woman said her fiancé needed stitches on his ear and couldn't hear from one side. The doctors were studying if there was any brain damage. She also said others from Pomersbach's team had since been trying to get her to withdraw her complaint. Her voice choking with emotion, she appealed to the Indian government for justice.

(With inputs from Y.B. Sarangi)

Keywords: Luke Pomersbach

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