On June 8, the father of the minor wrestler who alleged sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has confessed to filing a false complaint.
The minor’s father said that the WFI chief did not sexually harass the minor wrestler; however, he was “partial in nature against her.” He further added that the sexual harassment allegations were levelled against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh out of anger after the minor wrestler lost in the finals of the last year’s trials for the Asian Championships.
“The entire staff on match duty was from Delhi and the opponent girl also hailed from Delhi, which is illegal… I have changed my statement. Some allegations were true and some were false. Brij Bhushan had not sexually harassed my daughter but his approach was biased against her… I had received threatening calls but I will not reveal their names. I had sold my house to bear the expenses of my daughter. Without anyone’s influence, I had re-recorded my statement,” the minor’s father said.
“We have no grudge against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. We had recorded fresh statements on June 5 and we changed a few of our earlier statements. I am a father of a girl, and I don’t want to get involved in this fight. I had not withdrawn the complaint but recorded fresh statements. In anger, we had levelled some false allegations, and my daughter had faced some issues but all those mentioned in the FIR were not true,” he added.
The minor’s father said that they had filed a fresh statement before the magistrate u/s 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on June 5, thus holding evidentiary value before a court. However, they have not withdrawn the previous complaint. The court would now be tasked with deciding whether the case could proceed in light of conflicting statements under the provisions and which statement would carry more weight.
The minor’s father also said that their entire family is going through depression, and his primary objective is to make his daughter a champion. He also said that he and his daughter were out of Delhi and visiting a religious place.
On May 10, the minor recorded her statement before a magistrate providing an account of the alleged incident of sexual harassment. Thereafter, the WFI President was charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
It is pertinent to note that under criminal law, the “burden of proof” lies with the prosecution to prove the case against the accused “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It was reported that the court would now have to assess the credibility of the complainant’s statements and that such an assessment would determine the future course of the case.
On May 31, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh responded to the protesting wrestlers’ allegations and said that he would “hang” himself if allegations against him were proven. “If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself,” the WFI chief said while addressing a public rally in UP’s Barabanki.
“It’s been four months and they want me to be hanged. The government is not hanging me that’s why they gathered at Haridwar on May 30 and threatened to immerse their medals in the Ganga. This will not bring the sentence that they want for me, it is all emotional drama,” he said.
“If you (wrestlers) have any evidence, present it in the Court and I am ready to accept any punishment,” Singh said. “Delhi police is investigating the matter. I would be arrested if there’s any truth to the charges (levelled by the wrestlers),” he added.
It is to be noted that, in an interview with a news channel, the family of the minor who has registered a case (POCSO) against Singh said Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia & Phogat etc. misguided, used her for their dirty politics.