Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Minister Sandeep Singh assault case: Victim was at crime scene for over an hour, charge sheet says

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The Chandigarh Police in its final report submitted before a court here against Haryana Minister Sandeep Singh, accused of sexual harassment, has said that the complainant junior woman coach was present at the scene of the alleged crime for more than an hour rather than 15 minutes as claimed by the accused.

The filing of the charge sheet in the case last month came nearly after eight months of registration of the case.The case stems from allegations of sexual assault made by a junior athletic coach from Haryana against the BJP leader.

Singh has been charged with IPC sections 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or criminal force with intent to disrobe), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The victim has affirmed her stand in her statement before the Judicial Magistrate, says the charge sheet.

“While identification of scene of the crime, the victim was able to identify the main office (at his official residence here), the attached side room, as well as the bedroom and attached bathroom and all the connecting passageways, which clearly shows that victim had visited the said rooms, while accused has cited that she only visited his main office cabin.”

“The victim’s presence at the scene of the crime on March 2, 2022, and July 1, 2022, has been affirmed by her ride details as provided by Uber, which shows that the victim was present at the scene of the crime for over an hour, rather than 15 minutes as claimed by the accused.”

“Further, it is contrary to the accused’s claims that the victim had only visited his main office and not the attached cabin or the bedroom,” reads the over 700-page charge sheet.

It said that Sandeep Singh couldn’t explain why he allowed the woman to meet him after the official meeting time, in the late evening.The charge sheet says many witnesses have corroborated the victim’s allegations of sexual harassment.

Data retrieved from CFSL, chats, and voice or call recordings too reveal that the victim had told some people about the sexual harassment incident, it says.

The forensic lab reports regarding the examination of the victim’s mobile phone indicate that the minister and the victim were in regular touch with each other and their relationship was beyond professional interaction, it says.

However, the hockey player-turned-politician, during his examination completely denied having any personal relation with her, contrary to the evidence, according to the charge sheet.Some of the witnesses have also claimed that the minister and the victim were close.

The charge sheet also carried a confirmation by Pankaj Nain, IPS, the then Haryana Sports Director, that Sandeep Singh was taking an unusual interest in the victim.

On March 10, 2023, a request was moved before the court to conduct a “lie detection test”, however, the accused refused to undergo it on medical grounds, says the final report.The charge sheet also says that some of the allegations levelled by the victim could not be substantiated during the investigation.

The investigation has revealed that the victim was initially on friendly terms with the minister, however, after the incident of July 1, she started complaining about the undue sexual advances made by the accused, it says.

“There was a six months’ delay in lodging of the complaint and immediate provocation for the same appears to be her transfer from Panchkula to Jhajjar, and minister’s refusal for reverting the same,” it says.

“The victim didn’t report immediately the sexual harassment incident of July 1, 2022, and she was in contact with the accused many incidents like her facing difficulties in accessing the gym facilities at Tau Devi Lal stadium, Panchkula, refusal of foreign training and finally her transfer to Jhajjar made her lodge a formal complaint with the police,” the charge sheet read.

The Haryana Assembly last month witnessed heated exchanges as the opposition Congress demanded Sandeep Singh’s resignation after the Chandigarh Police filed a charge sheet in the sexual harassment case against him.The demand was bluntly rejected by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Sandeep Singh, who is presently the Minister of State, Printing and Stationery, is a first-time MLA and former India hockey captain.After he was charged in connection with the incident, Singh gave up his portfolio on “moral grounds.”

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