India’s outgoing wrestling federation chief ‘harassed wrestlers at every opportunity’, Delhi police says

India’s outgoing wrestling federation chief ‘harassed wrestlers at every opportunity’, Delhi police says

The outgoing chief of India’s wrestling federation consistently “outraged the modesty” of women wrestlers, who had accused him of harassment, at every opportunity he got, police officials have told a court.

The comments were made by a lawyer representing Delhi’s police on 23 September against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also an influential member of parliament from prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP.

Mr Singh has been at the centre of sexual harassment allegations by half a dozen women wrestlers who staged a sit-in protest for months. The wrestlers, that count Olympic and Asian game medallists among them, had accused him of sexual harassment.

The court was in the process of considering arguments for formally framing charges against Mr Singh after a chargesheet had been filed in a sexual harassment case brought forth by six women wrestlers.

Advocate Atul Srivastava, representing the Delhi police, told the court that Mr Singh “knew what he was doing” and his intention was to outrage the modesty of the wrestlers, the local media reported. Mr Singh has consistently denied the accusations made against him.

The Delhi police also emphasised that there exist three compelling pieces of evidence against him, which provide sufficient grounds to initiate charges.

These encompass a written complaint along with two recorded statements under sections of India’s criminal code.

The wrestlers had started protests in January by camping in the streets of national capital Delhi. They had later called off the protests after talks with the federal sports minister on the promise of action against Mr Singh.

But the protests resumed again in April due to government inaction alleged by the wrestlers, leading to dramatic scenes of them being briefly detained by Delhi’s police as they tried to march to the new parliament building.

It was only after the Supreme Court had intervened in the matter in April that the Delhi police registered the first information reports against Mr Singh.

Meanwhile, in a viral video shared on Monday, Mr Singh can be heard saying “who is going to cancel my ticket?” when he was asked by reporters if he will be given one to contest national elections next year.

Swati Maliwal, the head of the Delhi Women’s Commission, shared the video and asserted that there seemed to be significant backing for Mr Singh that enabled him to display a high degree of power and arrogance.

“Brij Bhushan... is openly challenging who has the courage to cancel his ticket? Only a big man must be in charge of this, that is why there is so much arrogance of power,” she wrote on X/Twitter.

The court will next hear the case on 7 October.