Monday, March 4, 2024

Wrestlers’ sexual harassment case: Delhi court summons Brij Bhushan on July 18

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A Delhi court on Friday summoned BJP MP and outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in a case of alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers and said there was sufficient evidence to proceed against him.

Taking cognisance of the charge sheet, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal directed Singh to appear before the court on July 18.

The court also summoned Vinod Tomar, suspended assistant secretary of the Wrestling Federation of India.

It directed the SHO of Connaught Place Police Station to execute the summons against both the accused.The judge said he was giving a short date, noting that both the accused reside in Delhi.

Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet against the six-time MP Singh on June 15 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 IPC.

Tomar was charged with offences under sections 109 (abetment of any offence, if the act abetted is committed in consequence, and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 354, 354A and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

Besides the present case, another FIR was filed against Singh pursuant to the allegations made by a minor wrestler which was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

She was among the seven female grapplers who had accused Singh of sexual harassment.

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

In the minor’s case, the court had on July 4 sought a response from the girl and the complainant on the final report filed by Delhi Police seeking cancellation of the case against Singh for alleged sexual harassment.

Delhi Police had on June 15 submitted the report seeking cancellation of the FIR filed with regard to the allegation of sexual harassment against Singh.

A cancellation report is filed in cases where police fail to find corroborative evidence after due investigation.

In a startling admission, the father of the minor wrestler had told PTI that he and his daughter had filed a “false” police complaint of sexual harassment against Singh because they wanted to get back at him for perceived injustice against the girl.

Singh has been questioned by the police twice so far, and on both occasions, he denied all the allegations against him and claimed he was “framed”.

The cause of the women wrestlers was taken up by decorated grapplers like Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, and Asian Games champion Vinesh Phogat.

The protest by celebrity grapplers drew support from a host of opposition parties and farmer organisations.

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