WFI chief claims wrestlers ‘paid’: ‘Bajrang Punia was heard asking to arrange a girl’

May 01, 2023 09:04 PM IST

The Delhi Police is yet to record the statement of protesting women wrestlers even after three days since WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was booked.

Amid mounting pressure from protesting wrestlers to step down as Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Monday claimed the aggrieved grapplers are paid while dismissing the sexual harassment allegations against him. Speaking to news agency ANI, Singh said he doesn't even know the minor who has levelled serious allegations, adding that the girl didn't even testify before the oversight committee constituted to probe the matter.

WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh speaks to the media on Wrestlers' protest, on Monday. (ANI Photo)(ANI)
WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh speaks to the media on Wrestlers' protest, on Monday. (ANI Photo)(ANI)

Two FIRs have been filed against the BJP MP, the first pertaining to allegations levelled by a minor, which has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) concerning outraging modesty.

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Doubling down on his claim that Congress leader Deepender Hooda and star grappler Bajrang Punia have hatched a conspiracy, Singh said he had submitted an audio clip to the probe panel in which Punia was allegedly heard asking a person to “arrange a girl.”

"And three months later they arranged it and came up with a fresh allegation," he said.

He went on to claim that “forces who were active in Shaheen Bagh (anti-CAA protests) and farmers' protest” are again visible.

“I am just an excuse, their target is the party (BJP),” the WFI chief said.

Singh repeated his claim that some prominent industrialists are behind the agitation and the aggrieved wrestlers have been paid.

Several opposition leaders, including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met the protesting wrestlers at Delhi Jantar Mantar last week to extend their support. More support poured in for the athletes on Monday with former India cricketer and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu demanding "custodial interrogation" of the WFI President. Sidhu spent more than two hours at the site and was seen having an animated discussion with Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik.

Amid persistent drizzle in the national capital, the determined wrestlers said they won't leave the protest site and will brave the weather conditions.

"We will not move from here. We will continue to sleep here even if it means sleeping on wet mattresses. We are not going to leave," Bajrang Punia told PTI.

"The weather is going to be like this for the next two days but we are ready to face these obstacles."

(With inputs from agencies)

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