Police also filed a report recommending the cancellation of a Pocso complaint filed by a minor wrestler, citing 'no corroborative evidence'
NEW DELHI: Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is charged with sexual harassment and stalking in the Delhi police chargesheet filed on Thursday after sustained protests by the country's top wrestlers. The police also filed a report recommending the cancellation of a Pocso complaint filed by a minor wrestler against the controversial BJP MP, citing "no corroborative evidence".
The 1,500-page chargesheet was filed eight days after the protesting wrestlers met Union sports minister Anurag Thakur at his Delhi residence, wherein the minister assured Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and others of the probe being completed by June 15.
In the Pocso matter, the police submitted a 550-page report recommending the cancellation of the case based upon the statements of the complainants — the minor girl and her father, a statement issued by Delhi police PRO Suman Nalwa said.
Additional sessions judge Rajinder Singh in Patiala House Court put the cancellation report for consideration on July 4. The Pocso Act entails a minimum prison sentence of three years. However, it is subject to the section under which the crime falls.
The Congress reacted strongly to the police’s recommendation for cancellation of the complaint, saying the cry for justice of India’s daughters has been "consigned to the dustbin and buried" by the government. The BJP’s new slogan is "Beti Darao, Brij Bhushan Bachao", Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said.
In the other case filed on the complaint of women wrestlers, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Deepak Kumar at Rouse Avenue Court put up the chargesheet for June 22 for consideration. The chargesheet was filed under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation), special public prosecutor Atul Srivastava said outside the court.
Charges like "outraging the modesty of a woman" are non-bailable while "sexual harassment and stalking" are bailable offences.
The chargesheet has also been filed against Vinod Tomar, a suspended assistant secretary of the WFI, for the 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.
The protesting wrestlers have been demanding the arrest of Singh, whom they have accused of sexually exploiting seven women wrestlers, including a minor. The special investigation team of the Delhi police has questioned over 180 people and also visited Singh's residence in Gonda, where it recorded the statements of the outgoing WFI chief's relatives, colleagues, house staff and associates. The investigators also took a woman wrestler to Singh’s official residence in New Delhi to recreate the sequence of events that led to the alleged crime.
Although corroboration of the allegations made by the women wrestlers by coaches and participants forms a major part of the evidence in the chargesheet, call detail records from last year have also been placed on record. The videos accessed of the wrestlers’ deposition before a probe committee set up by the sports ministry, alleging sexual harassment by Singh, also form part of the chargesheet.
The Delhi police has also written to the wrestling federations of five nations, seeking details in connection with the alleged incidents of sexual harassment by Singh. Their replies are awaited. A senior police officer said a supplementary chargesheet in the matter will be filed after receiving replies from these countries. He said that the notices were sent seeking photos and video of the tournaments and CCTV footage of the places where the wrestlers had stayed during their matches.
After his meeting with the protesting wrestlers on June 7, Thakur addressed a press conference and said the wrestlers had suggested that the chargesheet in the case be filed by June 15 and the WFI elections be held by June 30. The wrestlers had also suggested setting up an internal complaints committee at WFI headed by a woman.
Following the assurance by the sports minister, the grapplers suspended their agitation till June 15 but threatened to resume their protest if a chargesheet was not filed within the specified period.