Nashik: In a shocking development, the Nashik Police have booked Olympic rowing champion Dattu Baban Bhokanal on charges of alleged harassment and dowry demands levelled by his wife, an official said on Friday.
"The complaint has been lodged by his wife Asha Dattu Bhokanal. We have not made any arrest so far. We are investigating the matter," a police official said.
Serving with the Indian Army in Pune, Bhokanal, 29, has been charged under the Indian Penal Code.
Stonewalling media queries, Bhokanal's family and lawyers have dismissed Asha's complaint as 'false'.
In her complaint, Asha, 26, has contended that she first met Dattu in 2015 at a felicitation ceremony and later they became friends.
Their friendship blossomed into a love affair which culminated in a secret marriage performed at a prominent Pune temple in December 2017. Thereafter, they both committed to inform their respective families and have a formal wedding ceremony.
Later, her family made wedding arrangements twice, but Bhokanal allegedly backed off from the alliance but continued to harass her physically and mentally for nearly 15 months till March 2019.
When she again broached the topic of his marriage commitment with him, he reportedly threatened to consume poison and commit suicide, compelling her to register the police complaint, Asha said.
Hailing from the village of Talegaon-Rohi in Nashik, Bhokanal shot to fame when he became the only Indian rower to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the first from Maharashtra and the ninth so far to represent the country in the world's biggest sporting extravaganza.
He bagged the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and earlier in 2014, won two gold medals at the National Rowing Championship, representing the armed forces.