Wrestlers sexual harassment case | Delhi court orders framing of charges against Brij Bhushan Singh; we look forward to a fair trial, says Sakshi Malik

The court has also ordered framing of charges against co-accused and former WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar in the case

Updated - May 10, 2024 10:09 pm IST

Published - May 10, 2024 06:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Former Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. File

Former Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. File | Photo Credit: ANI

A Delhi court on May 10 framed charges of sexual harassment against and outraging modesty against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Kaisarganj and former Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Singh. Mr Singh will now face trial for allegedly harassing five women wrestlers.

The charges against Mr Singh were framed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Priyanka Rajpoot of the Rouse Avenue Court. The detailed order is awaited.

In an open court, the judge said that there is sufficient material on record to frame the accused for the offences punishable under Sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 354A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), with respect to five wrestlers who were named as victim No 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, by the court.

The court further observed there is sufficient material on record to frame charges against Mr. Singh for the offence punishable under Section 506(1) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC with respect to two wrestlers. The court, however, discharged Mr Singh for offences alleged by the victim No 6.

Charges were also framed against Vinod Tomar, suspended assistant secretary at WFI who is also an accused in this case for the offence of criminal intimidation against Victim No 1. The court has discharged him from the offence of abetment with regard to all the accused.

Top wrestlers protested against Brij Bhushan Singh

Many renowned wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat, had protested for months in New Delhi, last year, demanding the arrest of the BJP lawmaker for allegedly sexually harassing several women grapplers, including a minor. The harassment took place between 2016 and 2019 at the WFI office, at Singh’s official residence and also abroad, the victims have alleged.

As the protest of the grapplers continued for weeks, the Sports Ministry constituted an oversight committee to investigate the matter internally.

The police filed an FIR against the BJP MP after the intervention of the Supreme Court in May 2023. In June, a 1,000-page chargesheet was filed at the Rouse Avenue court.

A minor wrestler, who too had protested against Mr. Singh, later withdrew her complaint and changed the statement. During the hearing on framing of charges, Mr. Singh maintained that the case is “false and motivated”.

Wrestler Sakshi Malik, who was at the forefront of the protest in Jantar Mantar, said that all the women wrestlers were happy that charges have been framed against Mr. Singh and Mr. Tomar. Calling it a big milestone in wrestlers’ 18-month struggle, Ms. Malik said the protest started in January 2023 on the streets and ended in the court. “We have full faith In the judiciary and look forward to a fair trial and justice being meted out to us,” she said.

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