Haryana sports minister Sandeep Singh quits over sexual harassment case

Haryana sports minister Sandeep Singh quits over sexual harassment case

Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh, who has been booked for sexual misconduct after a female junior athletics coach filed a complaint against him, has resigned from his post, and dismissed the allegations as an attempt to ‘spoil his image’.

Singh said that there is an attempt to “spoil” his image. “I hope there will be a thorough investigation into the false allegations levelled against me. I hand over the responsibility of the sports department to the Chief Minister until the report of the investigation comes out,” he added.

The woman coach, who had participated in the Rio Olympics, held a press conference at  the Opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)’s office. The INLD has demanded that the Manohar Lal Khattar government immediately sack Sandeep Singh and set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the matter.  Senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had also demanded an impartial inquiry into the matter.

According to reports, a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 342 (wrongful confinement), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) was filed against the minister on Saturday (December 31).

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Singh, an Olympian and the former captain of the Indian national hockey team is a BJP legislator from Pehowa in Kurukshetra. The woman coach in her complaint said that Singh had sexually harassed her when she visited his residence in Chandigarh on Thursday.

She said that minister had messaged her on Instagram after seeing her at a gym and insisted on meeting her.

“He messaged me on Instagram and said my national games certificate is pending and wanted to meet in this regard. Unfortunately, my certificate has been misplaced by my federation and I have been taking it up with the authorities concerned,” the woman coach said.

She said she agreed to meet Singh and went to meet him at his official residence, where the minister allegedly indulged in sexual misconduct.The complainant said that she met Manisha Choudhary, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) on Friday and Superintendent of Police Shruti Arora.

“I have full faith in Chandigarh police and was assured a fair inquiry,” the woman. Singh, however, have called the allegations baseless and ordered an independent probe into the matter.

A biopic was released based on Singh in 2018, titled Soorma, in which popular Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh played his role. He was also a judge on the reality TV show MTV Roadies.

Singh was accidentally shot by an assistant sub-inspector of the Railways Police Force, on board a train to Delhi, just two days before the 2007 Hockey World Cup, rendering him paralysed from the waist down for a year.

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