The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has been implicated in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police. The chargesheet, reviewed by The Indian Express, states that Singh is “liable to be prosecuted and punished” for multiple offenses, including sexual harassment, molestation, and stalking. The chargesheet invokes Sections 506, 354, 354A, and 354D of the Indian Penal Code.
The Delhi Police has requested the court to summon Singh and the witnesses mentioned in the chargesheet. A thorough investigation, which included speaking to 108 witnesses, was conducted by the police. Fifteen witnesses, including wrestlers, coaches, and referees, corroborated the allegations made by the complainants.
The chargesheet details the specific allegations and corresponding corroborative statements from witnesses. The incidents reported by the wrestlers include instances of inappropriate touching, intimidation, and forced physical contact. The chargesheet highlights the repeated and continuing nature of the harassment.
Allegations: “I was out for dinner in the hotel restaurant, the accused (Singh) called me to his dinner table… placed his hand on my breast, groped me and then slid his hand down to my stomach… repeatedly for 3-4 times … In the WFI office … he started touching me inappropriately on my palm, knee, thighs, shoulders without my consent… he put his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of checking my breathing.”
Corroborative witnesses’ accounts (three wrestlers)
* “The victim was subject to inappropriate sexual contact on the pretext of checking her breathing”.
* “When he was going to congratulate her in the warm-up area after winning, he saw Brij Bhushan putting his hand on her stomach and chest. He found this very strange and bad. There were also wrestlers and staff from other countries in the warmup area”.
* “Brij Bhushan had inappropriately touched the chest and stomach of the victim on the pretext of checking her breathing in the dining area of the hotel/ restaurant…The victim had confided in her that she did not feel good at the time of the incident”.
Allegations: “I was lying down on the mat, and the accused to my shock and surprise… without seeking my permission pulled up my T-shirt, placed his hand on my breast and slid it down my stomach on the pretext of checking my breathing…. At federation office… I was called into the room of the accused … my brother was asked to stay back…The accused (Singh)… closed the door… pulled me towards himself and tried making forceful physical contact.”
Witnesses’ accounts (Brother, husband)
* “She appeared to be visibly upset when she came out of the office. On that day, she did not tell him (brother) anything about the incident, but later on came to know of the incident with the complainant after the FIR was registered”.
* “Two-three unknown persons came to him (husband) and threatened them with dire consequences and asked them to keep away from locking horns with Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh”.
Allegations: “He made me talk to my parents on the phone… the accused (Singh) called me towards his bed… he tried to hug me forcefully without my permission… He tried to bribe me by offering to buy me supplements which I may require as an athlete in exchange for sexual favours.”
Witnesses’ accounts (Mother and three wrestlers)
* “She (mother) corroborated the allegations pertaining to the victim narrating the incident to her upon return from the event. She also corroborated the allegation of repeated calls made by the accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh after the return of the victim from Kazakhstan”.
* “She supported the version of the complaint regarding the narration of the incident to her by the victim”.
* “She had heard from somebody that the victim has been called by President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in his room”.
* “Brij Bhushan had called the victim to his room through someone and talked to her parents on the phone and tried to forcibly hug her. He also asked the victim if he looked good in a pant-shirt or in a dhoti kurta”.
Allegations: “Singh pulled up my T-shirt and slid his hand down my stomach and put his hand on my navel on the pretext of checking my breathing.”
Witnesses’ accounts (Coach and two wrestlers)
* “One day Brij Bhushan came into the practice area and checked her breathing by holding her hand and asking her to show both her palms”.
* “While they were doing practice at the ground floor of Hotel Ramada, the alleged Brij Bhushan came and he checked the Dharan (navel area) of the complainant and due to this, she became nervous”.
* “The complainant returned from the office of alleged Brij Bhushan and when they were returning home, she informed him (coach) about the incident with her in the office of WFI by the alleged Brij Bhushan”.
Allegations: “I was standing in the last row (for team photograph)… the accused (Singh) came and stood alongside me. I suddenly felt a hand on my buttock. When I tried moving away, I was forcibly held by my shoulder.”
Witnesses’ accounts (Two referees)
* “The complainant was standing beside the alleged Brij Bhushan initially in the last row but later she changed her position to the front row during the photo session”.
* “…Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had touched the complainant in an inappropriate manner and after that, the complainant changed her position from last row to front row during the group photo session”.
Allegations: “On the pretext of getting a picture clicked with me, he pulled me towards him by my shoulder… to protect myself, I tried moving away from the accused…” He said “zyada smart bann rahi hai kya…aage koi competition nahi khelne kya tune?” (Acting too smart? You don’t want to be considered for tournaments in the future?)”
Witnesses’ accounts (Two coaches)
* “They have corroborated the version of the complainant to the extent that the name of the victim figured initially in the list but later it was removed”.
Singh, who denied all allegations during questioning by the Delhi Police, was mentioned in the annexure of the chargesheet. According to the annexure, Singh claimed to have never met the wrestlers and stated that he didn’t have their phone numbers.
The chargesheet concludes with a request for the accused to face trial and for the witnesses to be examined along with the relevant documents. The investigation spanned various locations, including Rohtak, Sonipat, Lucknow, Patiala, Kurukshetra, Hissar, Bhiwani, Chandigarh, and Bellary.
The charges against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh mark a significant development in addressing allegations of sexual harassment within the Wrestling Federation of India. The upcoming legal proceedings will determine the course of action and the subsequent impact on the wrestling community in the country.
Gangtokian Web Team, 11/07/23