New turn to wrestlers’ protest: ‘Made some false allegations against WFI chief,’ says father of ‘minor’
In a new turn to the case against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhusan Sharan Singh, the father of the “minor” wrestler, based on whose allegations a case was filed under POCSO Act, has claimed that he and his daughter had made some “false allegations” against Singh, and that she was not underage at the time of the incident.
In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, the father of the woman wrestler said that Singh had not sexually harassed his daughter, but his approach was “partial in nature against her.”
The father, who recorded a fresh statement before the magistrate in Delhi on June 5, also revealed that they levelled the allegations of sexual harassment against Singh “out of anger” as his daughter had lost in the final of the trials for the Asian Championship last year.
He, however, clarified that contrary to media reports, they have not withdrawn the complaint against Singh but rather recorded fresh statements.
In an earlier interview with NDTV, the father of the female wrestler had said that his daughter had changed her age in her statement to the court, though her complaint of sexual harassment remains.
If this is true, it would mean that the case filed against the BJP MP under POCSO (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) would have to be dropped.
This carries a lot of significance, because the penalty under Section 10 of POCSO carries a prison term of seven years, whereas the penalty under other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is a much-reduced two-year prison term.
After the Supreme Court issued an order, the Delhi Police had registered two FIRs against Singh on April 28. One of the FIRs was registered under POCSO. Seven wrestlers had accused him of sexual harassment.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has questioned almost 140 people till now in its efforts to probe the allegations of sexual harassment against the WFI head.
A ‘khap mahapanchayat’ on Friday (June 2) demanded the arrest of Singh, and gave the government time till June 9 to act on its demand.
Delhi Police to file chargesheet by June 15
The Delhi Police are expected to complete their investigation and file a chargesheet in the case by June 15. This was part of a written proposal given to the wrestlers on Wednesday evening (June 7) by Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur after a six-hour discussion with two of the wrestlers spearheading the protest, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik.
The wrestlers have said they would respond to the government’s proposal after receiving feedback from their supporters.
(With inputs from agencies)