People associated with Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh questioned last week

Jun 06, 2023 12:25 PM IST

Delhi Police are probing the allegations of sexual misconduct top wrestlers have levelled against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

Delhi Police teams questioned over the last week people associated with former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as part of the probe into the allegations of sexual misconduct top wrestlers have levelled against him, people aware of the matter said on Monday. The questioning was held at separate places in Singh’s home state of Uttar Pradesh.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (HT PHOTO)
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (HT PHOTO)

Two First Information Reports (FIRs), including one under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, were filed against Singh on the basis of complaints of six wrestlers and the father of a minor athlete on April 28

The people cited above said relatives and security personnel of Singh, who is also a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament, were among those questioned at his home in Gonda on Sunday. “We also visited Lucknow and Ayodhya to speak to certain current and former staffers and officials of the [now-suspended] Wrestling Federation [of India],” said a police officer, who did not want to be named. “We are recording statements of people associated with Singh as part of our efforts to gather evidence.”

Investigators said the minor wrestler has recorded a fresh statement before a magistrate. “She has basically conveyed that her allegations against Singh were distorted and that her complaint did not correctly convey what she meant,” said the officer. The minor’s father has not withdrawn the original complaint.

Delhi Police spokesperson Suman Nalwa said no information can be shared about the case at this moment as it is under investigation.

The wrestlers camped at the protest site Jantar Mantar for 38 days demanding Singh’s immediate arrest until the Delhi Police uprooted their tents there on May 28. They were manhandled, stopped, and detained as they sought to march to the new Parliament building during its inauguration that day.

On Wednesday last, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, and double World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat held off on immersing their medals in the Ganga as part of their protest against Singh, who headed WFI for 12 years. The wrestlers broke down in a huddle played out on live television on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar.

A day later, representatives of around 50 khaps or clan-based outfits met in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar to back the wrestlers. They said they will meet President Droupadi Murmu to press for action against Singh even as the Union government reiterated it was handling the matter sensitively.

Malik, Punia, and Phogat, who kept a low profile since their aborted move to immerse their medals, on Monday reiterated their commitment to the protest against Singh. They stressed that their struggle was still on after some media reports suggested that their rejoining work last week meant that they abandoned the protest.

Bharatiya Kisan Union and the khaps that supported the wrestlers by holding two mahapanchayats over the issue on Monday decided to pull back from the agitation. The decision came after it was learned that a group of protesting wrestlers met Union home minister Amit Shah at his home on Saturday night.

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