New Delhi: Former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Saturday urged a Delhi court to discharge him in a sexual harassment case by women wrestlers, claiming material contradictions in the statements of witnesses against him.
Six women wrestlers have levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Singh.
Appearing before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of the Rouse Avenue Court, advocate Rajeev Mohan, appearing for Singh, argued that as per the law, the Oversight Committee had to recommend for the registration of the FIR within seven days, but since in the matter at hand, no such recommendation has been made, it is safe to assume that the Committee did not find a prima facie case against accused.
“Since no prima facie case was found out by the Oversight Committee, and since no case was found out, no FIR was registered, it automatically amounts to exoneration,” Mohan told the court.
He further claimed that the statements made before the Oversight Committee and the statements recorded under Section 164 CrPC have material contradictions and that the statements made later in time (under section 164) have material improvements and, therefore are liable to be rejected in toto.
“Since there are material contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, that itself calls for discharge of the accused as the contradictions have the effect of taking the case away from the arena of grave suspicion, towards only mere suspicion,” the defence counsel said.
The argument was opposed by the public prosecutor, who said that the constitution of the Oversight Committee itself was not in accordance with law.
“There is no question of exoneration because no recommendations/ findings have been given by the said Committee,” the prosecutor said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on October 30.
Earlier, Singh had told the court that the allegations of sexual harassment against him accused have no basis. The BJP MP’s counsel had also contended that checking the pulse rate without sexual intent is not an offense.
Singh’s counsel had said that the oversight committee was formed following tweets tagging the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that the said committee exonerated the coaches against whom allegations were leveled. Singh’s counsel emphasised that there were no written or oral allegations until the formation of the committee, and the foundation of the allegations was based on tweets.
The defence also mentioned that breathing pattern checking was not mentioned in affidavits given by the complainants but was only in the complaints. In the previous hearing, Singh denied allegations of sexual harassment, and claimed that one of them accused him as she failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Claiming that the allegations are false and motivated, Singh’s counsel had submitted that the above-mentioned complainant, who is part of the sexual harassment committee, did not report the alleged incident from 2012 until April 2023. “She levelled the allegations as she failed to qualify for the Olympics. Every complaint has a reason behind it. Every allegation is false… Almost every complainant changed her statement. Cosmetic and improved statements were given to implicate the accused.”
Delhi Police had told the court that Singh never missed an opportunity to sexually harass women wrestlers, adding that there is sufficient evidence to frame charges against him and proceed with the trial.