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Charges Framed by Delhi Court against Former WFI Chief in Sexual Harassment Case

Charges Framed by Delhi Court against Former WFI Chief in Sexual Harassment Case

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 21: A Delhi court on Tuesday framed charges of sexual harassment, intimidation and outraging the modesty of women against the former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP member of the outgoing Lok Sabha Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in a criminal case filed by female wrestlers.

The court also framed charge of criminal intimidation against his co-accused and former WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar in the same case.

Singh pleaded not guilty to the charges before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Priyanka Rajpoot and claimed trial. “Why will I plead guilty when I am not guilty?” Singh said.

Singh, the sitting BJP MP from Kaisarganj in Uttar Pradesh, was denied ticket to contest the Lok Sabha poll in the aftermath of the sexual harassment allegations against him and instead fielded his son Karan Bhushan Singh for the seat.

An unfazed Brij Bhushan Singh, however, did not feel that the complaint and the charge-sheet against him would in any way adversely affect the Kaisarganj election prospects and instead claimed that it might benefit the party. Exuding confidence in his son and not being weighed down by the sexual harassment charges levelled against him, Brij Bhushan claimed that his party would be getting more votes owing to those allegations.

“We will get more votes owing to those allegations,” Singh said, speaking to reporters in Kaisarganj, adding: “There is only one issue in Kaisarganj, and that is Brij Bhushan Singh.”

The Delhi Police had filed a charge-sheet in the case against Singh on June 15, 2023, under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIRs narrate several alleged instances of sexual harassment, like inappropriate touching, groping, stalking and intimidation, by Singh at different times and places over a decade.

On Monday, Delhi’s Patiala House Court deferred the order on the cancellation report filed by the Delhi Police in a POCSO case against Singh. This case was filed based on a complaint lodged by a minor female wrestler. Delhi Police had filed a cancellation report after the victim retracted from her earlier statement.

Star grapplers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia had welcomed the Delhi court’s decision to frame sexual harassment charges against Singh calling it a big victory for country’s women wrestlers. “This is a big victory for the struggle of women wrestlers,” Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, one of the leading faces in the protest against Singh, wrote on ‘X’.

“The daughters of the country have had to go through such difficult times, but this decision will provide relief. Those who trolled women wrestlers should also be ashamed. Satyamev Jayate.”

Rio Olympic bronze medallist Malik had retired after a faction led by Sanjay Singh, an aide of the former WFI President, was elected to head the federation in December last year. “We thank the honorable court. We had to sleep on the streets for many nights in the heat and rain, had to give up on our stable careers, only then have we been able to take a few steps forward in the fight for justice,” Malik, anther leading face in the protest against Singh, wrote on ‘X’.

“Heartfelt gratitude to those who showered love and blessings and may God bless those who trolled and said bad things. Long live Mother India.” The trioka of Sakshi, Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat were the prominent faces during the year-long protest which started in January 2023 at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.



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