Big Court Setback For Ex-Wrestling Body Chief

The next hearing in the case will be on May 21.

New Delhi:

In a big blow to Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a Delhi court has ordered the framing of charges against the former Wrestling Federation of India chief in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by women wrestlers. The court has said there is sufficient evidence on record to do so, paving the way for the beginning of the trial against him. 

Friday’s order by the Rouse Avenue court comes days after the BJP decided not to repeat Brij Bhushan, who is the party MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Kaiserganj, as the candidate from the constituency and decided to field his son Karan Bhushan Singh instead. 

The court has ordered the framing of charges against Brij Bhushan under sections 354 (outraging a woman’s modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against under these sections and one additional section – 354D (stalking) – on June 15 last year. 

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Priyanka Rajpoot said the charges will be framed against Brij Bhushan for sexually harassing five wrestlers and that he stands discharged in the allegations levelled by the sixth.

“This court has found sufficient material on record to frame charges against accused no.1 Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the offences under Section 354, 354A of Indian Penal Code regarding victims no. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5,” Ms Rajpoot said while pronouncing the order.

“This court has also found sufficient material on record to frame charges against accused no. 1 Brij Bhushan Singh for the offences under Section 506 Part 1 of IPC with respect to victims no.1 and 5,” she said. 

Charges should also be framed against the former assistant secretary of the Federation, Vinod Tomar, under Section 506, the court said. The neat hearing will be on May 21. 

The six-time MP has been at the centre of a huge political storm since last year, when sexual harassment charges were levelled against him and protesters had hit the streets led by Olympic medallists Sakshee Malikkh and Bajrang Punia, as well as Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medallist Vinesh Phogat. 

Ms Mallikh had also hung up her boots and said she was quitting the sport after an aide of Brij Bhushan had won the elections for the Wrestling Federation of India in December last year. The sports ministry had later suspended the new managing committee. 

Brij Bhushan has consistently denied all the charges. 

Earlier this month, the BJP nominated the MP’s son as the candidate for the Kaiserganj seat and the move led to digs from the opposition as well as a strong statement by Ms Mallikh. 

“Daughters of the country lost, Brij Bhushan won. We all put our careers at stake and slept on the streets for many days in the sun and rain. To date, Brij Bhushan has not been arrested. We were not demanding anything, we were only demanding justice,” she had said.

After Friday’s order, Mr Mallikh said it was a “small step towards victory”.

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