Update on Brij Bhushan Singh Case

Update on Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan’s Case: WFI Sexual Harassment Matter

Indian wrestlers began protesting at Jantar Mantar on January 18, 2023. They claimed that Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan, the head of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), had sexually exploited and intimidated them. As a result, demands were made for both the WFI’s dissolution and Sharan’s resignation. Despite early opposition, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) established a committee on January 20, 2023, to investigate the claims.

The committee included well-known athletes like Yogeshwar Dutt and MC Mary Kom.  The wrestlers announced the cancellation of their protest following the Sports Ministry’s creation of an Oversight Committee (OC) under Mary Kom’s direction, whose job it is to look into Sharan’s charges. On January 24, however, protesters were disappointed  because they were not consulted about OC members. The findings of the committee have not been made public till now, but the protesters have contested that the committee was biased towards Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan.

The situation worsened on April 23, 2023, when wrestlers started protesting at Jantar Mantar once more and disclosed more grievances against Sharan. This led the Ministry to postpone the May 7 WFI elections and ask an ad hoc body to hold them instead. The wrestler’s moved to SC seeking registration of FIR against Brij Bhushan Singh. The Supreme Court directed  Delhi police on April 25 to file an FIR against Brij Bhushan,  in response to wrestlers’ demands Wrestlers and police got into a brawl on May 3 that resulted in injuries.

 On May 4, 2023, the Supreme Court acknowledged the filing of FIRs and provided security for the complainants. Wrestlers demanded on May 10 that Sharan take a NARCO test, and on May 11, 2023,  police recorded his statement. Following this, there were court cases, charge sheets were filed, and then interim bail was granted to Brij Bhushan.

A charge sheet was filed by the Delhi police against Brij Bhushan Singh stating that he is liable to be prosecuted and punished for offences of sexual harassment, molestation, and stalking. He was booked for 6 cases (the seventh, case by a minor, was withdrawn), he has been booked under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 354 (outraging modesty of a woman), 354 A (sexual harassment); and 354 D (stalking).the charge sheet points out that, the harassment was “repeated and continuing”.

Brij Bhushan Singh through an application  has requested that the Delhi Police look into his presence at the WFI office on September 7, 2022, the purported date of the incident. He has asserted that on the relevant date, he was not in India. The new application also asks for an order for the Delhi Police to present the CDR(call records).

The counsel appearing for Delhi Police claimed that the application was filed at a belated state and seeks further investigation which will have legal implications. While the counsel for complainants argued that this is a delaying tactic.

On 4th April 2024, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Rouse Avenue Courts’ following Singh’s reserved its order on framing of charges and will pronounce the order on April 18, 2024. On 18th April, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh moved an application in a Delhi court seeking further investigation in the sexual harassment case. The court reserved an order on Brij Bhushan’s application for April 26.

On May 10, a Delhi court framed charges of sexual harassment and outraging modesty against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a former Wrestling Federation of India President. The charges relate to allegations by five women wrestlers. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Priyanka Rajpoot of the Rouse Avenue Court determined there was sufficient evidence to proceed with charges under Sections 354 (outraging modesty) and 354A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Additionally, charges under Section

506(1) (criminal intimidation) were framed against Singh concerning two wrestlers, though he was discharged of allegations from a sixth victim.

The Wrestling Federation of India’s suspended assistant secretary, Vinod Tomar, was cleared of any involvement charges despite being charged with criminal intimidation against a wrestler. We are awaiting the court’s detailed order.

-By Anaida Khan Pursuing 4th year of BALLB (Hons.) from Dharmashashtra National Law University, Jabalpur

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