Nepal sack cricket physio accused of La Mon Hotel masseuse assault
The international cricket physiotherapist accused of sexually assaulting a masseuse in a top Northern Ireland hotel has been sacked.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, cricket official Chhumbi Lama confirmed that the Cricket Association of Nepal had terminated Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai's contract with immediate effect.
The Nepalese national team, for whom Dr Ashai had been working as a physio, were staying at the luxury La Mon House Hotel when the assault is alleged to have occurred.
The team were competing in the qualifying stages of the Twenty20 World Cup, which were being held at Stormont.
When a handcuffed Dr Ashai appeared in court charged with touching a female masseuse in a sexual manner without her consent, a police constable testified that the masseuse alleged that Dr Ashai had asked for a full body massage - and despite having been instructed to wear underpants, he attended without them.
According to the constable's testimony, Dr Ashai told the masseuse that he was suffering in the groin and buttock area, and grabbed her hands and forced them between his legs, while in a state of arousal.
The court heard it was alleged he later apologised to the masseuse in front of a hotel manager, noting she was in distress, and offered her a £10 tip, which she refused.
Dr Ashai's lawyer said his client admitted that he attended the massage, but denied that he grabbed the masseuse's hands, or that he was aroused during treatment.
The Indian physiotherapist was released on £2,500 bail.
Conditions were imposed that he stayed at the Strangford Arms in Newtownards, made no contact with witnesses, reported to police three times a week and gave up his passport.
The case was adjourned until August 12.
Dr Ashai is one of the best-known sports physiotherapists in India.
He has worked with a number of the country's top cricketing stars. His website describes him as "an expert in the field of advanced physiotherapy".
It says: "He is also a physical trainer, a personal instructor, writer and sportsman."
The story has made headlines in India and in Nepal. The Nepal team are now in the Republic completing their remaining group qualifying matches.