Cops tell wrestlers to produce pics, videos to support sex assault charge: Reports
Delhi Police has asked some of the female wrestlers to produce pictures, videos, or WhatsApp messages to support their allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, media reports said on Sunday (June 11).
The police reportedly issued a notice under Section 91 of CrPC to the women wrestlers on June 5, giving them a day to respond. A CrPC 91 notice gives an investigating officer the power to ask for any document relevant to a case from the complainants. The notices have reportedly been issued by the investigating officer at the Connaught Place police station.
One of the wrestlers told The Indian Express that they have provided whatever evidence they had.
Cops want proof of harassment
According to the complaints lodged by the seven female wrestlers, the alleged incidents of sexual harassment happened between 2016 and 2019 at the WFI office, Singh’s MP bungalow, and during tournaments abroad.
According to the Indian Express report, one of the wrestlers alleged that Singh “hugged her tightly for 10 to 15 seconds” after she won a medal. The wrestler has claimed in her complaint that she had to shield herself with her hands to avoid being groped. The police have reportedly asked her for a photograph of that event.
The police have reportedly asked the wrestlers to mention the date and time of the alleged molestations, how long they spent at the WFI office, and the names of their roommates and other possible witnesses during overseas tours, among other things.
Two wrestlers, who have claimed to have received threatening calls ever since they complained against Singh, were reportedly asked to produce details of such calls. The government Oversight Committee formed in January had also reportedly asked the complainants for audio and video proof.
The wrestlers have mentioned in their complaints how Singh allegedly touched them inappropriately on the pretext of checking their breathing pattern and groping them on occasion.
The wrestlers have time and again expressed disappointment with the police investigation. Ace grapplers Bajrang Punia and Sakshee Malikkh, who have been at the forefront of the protest, told NDTV that the investigation could not be impartial if Singh was out of jail.
Punia told NDTV in the interview that a female wrestler was taken to the WFI office where Singh was present. He alleged that when she had asked whether Singh would be at the office, the police lied that he wasn’t. Punia said the wrestler got scared when she came to know that he was present in the office.
Malikkh also alleged in the interview that the wrestler who had earlier said she was a minor when she faced sexual harassment from Singh changed her statement under pressure. Now, the wrestler has recorded a fresh statement in court that she was not underage at the time of the event.
NDTV has also quoted an international wrestling referee as saying that he had seen Singh groping a female grappler at a wrestling event in Lucknow last year.
Singh, however, has denied all allegations and stated twice that if any charge against him was proved, he would hang himself.
After threatening to immerse their medals in the Ganga, the wrestlers on June 7 agreed to halt their protest till June 15. According to Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, Delhi Police will file a chargesheet in the case by that date.
Initially, the police refused to register an FIR in the case. Two FIRs were finally registered at Connaught Place police station on April 28 after the Supreme Court directed them to do so following an appeal by the wrestlers.
(With agency inputs)