Delhi Police register two FIRs in wrestlers’ case

This follows the Solicitor-General’s assurance in Supreme Court; counsel flags security concerns of complainants; Bench directs police to file an affidavit by May 5, detailing the steps taken to protect petitioners

April 28, 2023 03:59 pm | Updated April 29, 2023 08:46 am IST - NEW DELHI

AAP leaders and Ministers Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bhardwaj with wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 28, 2023. 

AAP leaders and Ministers Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bhardwaj with wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 28, 2023.  | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Delhi Police informed the Supreme Court on April 28 that it will register a First Information Report (FIR) on the basis of sexual harassment allegations raised by women wrestlers, including a minor girl, against BJP MP and former Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

“It [FIR] will be registered today,” Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the police, told a Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha.

Later, DCP (New Delhi) Pranav Tayal said: “In the matter of complaints... two FIRs have been registered at the Connaught police station.”

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the wrestlers, however said they were still worried for their lives. “We are worried on two counts. About our security and safety. We want a special task force (STF). He [Mr. Bhushan] has 40 cases against him, including that of Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code,” Mr. Sibal said.

Mr. Sibal placed on record an affidavit in a sealed cover on behalf of the alleged minor victim, highlighting the “apparent danger to her safety”. The affidavit was shared with the Solicitor-General.

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The court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to undertake a threat assessment exercise and provide adequate security to the minor.

The Bench asked the Solicitor-General to give a copy of the affidavit to the Delhi Police Commissioner to help him perceive the threats against the minor. The Court ordered the Police Commissioner to maintain the strictest confidentiality as regards the contents of the affidavit.

The court said it would not “stand in the way” of the Police Commissioner undertaking a similar threat assessment regarding the safety of the other six wrestlers, who are petitioners in the case, and provide them security if required.

The Bench directed the Delhi Police to file an affidavit by the next date of hearing, May 5, detailing the steps taken to protect the petitioners.

Mr. Mehta objected to the petitioners’ plea that the Supreme Court should monitor the investigation.

“Then this would go in a different direction… We would have to file an affidavit on that point...The moment we found there was a cognisable case, we are going ahead with the registration of FIR,” he said.

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Mr. Sibal indicated that the police had moved only after the case reached the Supreme Court. A formal complaint was made in January 2023. “Neither the Ministry nor the sports authorities did anything… What was their responsibility to us?” he asked.

But the court said it would not delve into issues like monitoring of the probe or forming an STF at this stage.

“Let us see… It is an evolving situation now… As of now, we are only saying that the case is listed for hearing next Friday. We have not said anything else. Let us see their (police) affidavit first,” Chief Justice Chandrachud observed.

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