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Wrestlers' protest: Brij Bhushan Singh ‘liable to be punished', say Delhi Police
The Delhi Police chargesheet states that BJP MP and erstwhile WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had on various occasions sexually harassed, molested and stalked women wrestlers
The Delhi Police chargesheet states that Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had on various occasions sexually harassed, molested and stalked wrestlers and hence is liable to be punished, reported the Indian Express. The Delhi police reportedly stated that this was based on the “investigation so far” into the complaints by six wrestlers.
In the chargesheet submitted before the chief metropolitan magistrate, the Delhi Police has invoked Sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman), 354 A (sexual harassment), and 354 D (stalking). Continuing to almost 1,500 pages, the chargesheet has reportedly noted that in one case Singh had repeatedly continued with his harassment. These sections carry a liability of imprisonment up to five years.
The chargesheet, which is dated June 13, mentions that in two of the six cases, Singh has been booked under Sections 354, 354 A and 354 D, while four of the cases are under Sections 354 and 354 D. Reportedly, the chargesheet states that the accused should be summoned to face trial and that witnesses named in the list could be called for an examination.
In the complaints, the wrestlers have alleged 15 incidents of sexual harassment, which include 10 instances of inappropriate touching. The police have also included corroborative statements from witnesses for specific allegations.
The Indian Express report states that the police have spoken to 108 witnesses, and out of them 15, including wrestlers, coaches and referees, corroborated the allegations made by the wrestlers.
The report adds that Wrestler 1 stated that Singh had called her to his dinner table at a restaurant where he placed his hand on her breast and groped her 3–4 times. At another instance, in the WFI office, Singh allegedly touched her inappropriately on her palms, knee and thighs and reportedly did it on the pretext of checking her breathing. Three wrestlers have corroborated this incident.
Wrestler 2, according to the Express report, has stated that she was lying on a mat when the accused, without her permission, pulled up her T-shirt and placed his hand on her breasts and slid his hand down to her stomach on the pretext of checking her breathing. In another instance, the wrestler was allegedly called to Singh’s room in the WFI offices, where he pulled her close. Her brother was asked to stay outside the room. Two witnesses have corroborated this incident too.
In the case of Wrestler 3, Singh allegedly tried to hug her without permission and made her talk to her parents. He reportedly then tried to bribe her, by offering to buy her supplements in exchange for sexual favours. Four witnesses have corroborated the incident.
According to Wrestler 4, Singh reportedly pulled up her T-shirt and slid his hand down her stomach and navel on the pretext of checking her breathing. Three witnesses have corroborated the incident, according to the Indian Express report.
Wrestler 5 has stated that Singh reportedly touched her buttocks and, when she tried to move away, he allegedly held her by the shoulders forcefully. Two witnesses have reportedly corroborated the incident.
According to the newspaper report, Wrestler 6 said that when they were posing for a picture, Singh pulled her towards him and when she resisted, he reportedly threatened her, suggesting that she should 'behave' if she wanted to be considered for future tournaments. Two witnesses have reportedly corroborated the event.
On Friday, 9 july, additional chief petropolitan magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal at the Rouse Avenue District Court took cognisance of the chargesheet filed against Singh for alleged sexual harassment and issued a summons. Singh and Vinod Tomar, the former WFI assistant secretary who is also an accused, have been directed to appear before the court on July 18.
In his order, Jaspal noted that “Perusal of the police report, statements of the victims recorded u/s 164 CrPC shows that the allegations are specific, suggesting offences under… provisions of Indian Penal Code. List of prosecution witnesses has been filed”.
The order stated, “Having heard the submissions and having carefully considered the police report, along with its annexed documents, including the statements of the victims recorded u/s 161 CrPC… statements of other witnesses recorded u/s 161 CrPC, the other oral and documentary evidence, etc., this Court takes cognisance for the offences committed… This Court hereby summons accused persons namely Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Vinod Tomar.”
Seven female wrestlers, including a minor, had filed separate complaints of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation against Singh in April this year. The police had also filed a cancellation report in the POCSO Act case against Singh, since the minor complainant retracted her statement before a magistrate.