A team of Delhi Police has visited the residence of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s residence in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh to investigate the sexual harassment charges against him, officers said on June 6.
Officers said the investigating police team questioned roughly a dozen employees and associates of Mr. Singh and recorded their statements. A source in the Delhi Police said that the team visited Mr. Singh’s residence late on Monday and then again on Tuesday morning.
A special investigation team (SIT) is probing the two cases lodged against Mr. Singh, a six-term parliamentarian — one based on the complaint lodged by six wrestlers and another one on the complaint of a minor wrestler under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.
The minor wrestler, whose father had filed the police complaint, has reportedly withdrawn her allegations against Mr. Singh.
In May, the minor wrestler had recorded her statement before a Magistrate maintaining the charges in her father’s complaint. In this case, the court will take a call as to which statement will remain valid and the facts behind both statements could be examined during the POCSO trial.
Earlier on Monday, the minor victim’s father, however, had denied all reports of his daughter withdrawing her complaint against Mr. Singh.
“I’ve read that news is being spread that my daughter has withdrawn her complaint, it’s completely fake and we are still a part of the ongoing agitation and we shall continue to fight against the accused,” the minor’s father had told The Hindu.
Amid the controversy Mr. Singh, who is facing serious allegations of sexual harassment is spending time in his home turf meeting supporters and leaders of caste-affiliated organisations in Gonda and adjoining Ayodhya.
He met Viresh Shandilya, national president of Ambala-based Brahmin Mahapanchayat; Bhavani Dada Kalvi, son of late Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the founder of Rajasthan Shri Rajput Karni Sena; Akhand Hindu Rashtra Sangathan president Anil Modi, and various others on Monday.
The Kaiserganj MP is scheduled to address a BJP rally in Katra Bazar area of his parliamentary constituency, on June 11, under the party’s Mahasampark Abhiyan on completion of nine years of the Narendra Modi government, after postponing his own proposed ‘Jan Chetna Maharally’ in Ayodhya on June 5 citing directions from the Supreme Court and the ongoing investigation.
A collective statement was issued by women and human rights organisations condemning the state repression and police atrocities on the wrestlers in their struggle for justice against sexual harassment.
“In POCSO, there is a presumption that the offence has been committed, especially after a statement in front of a Magistrate. Therefore, an arrest is imperative. Since the primary witnesses are minors, they are vulnerable to pressure. Despite these factors, the accused Brij Bhushan Singh enjoyed absolute impunity and was not arrested. The consequence of not making an immediate arrest has been that five weeks after the FIR was lodged, it is alleged that on June 2, a second statement was given by the minor to the Magistrate contradicting her original statement,” the statement said.
The statement further said, “We are very clear that it is for a court of law to independently monitor the investigation and come to a just conclusion. However, we would like to state that this country has no witness protection programme and once again the criminal justice system has failed our women struggling for justice.”
The statement was signed by All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Progressive Women’s Association, All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy and others.