‘WFI offering money to female wrestlers to withdraw case against its chief’

Protesting wrestlers said that there was a threat to the life of theirs as well as the complainant female wrestlers.

| Updated: 25 April, 2023 5:12 pm IST

New Delhi: Officials of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) are pressuring and offering money to female wrestlers to withdraw their police complaint against its tainted chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, alleged top sportspersons on the third day of their protest against the BJP MP.

Singh, a parliamentarian from Kaisarganj in Uttar Pradesh, has been accused of sexually exploiting women wrestlers over the years. Seven female wrestlers, including a minor, have filed a complaint with the Delhi Police against Singh but an FIR is yet to be registered. He has been at the helm of WFI for the past 12 years.

Addressing media persons at their protest site in Jantar Mantar, wrestler Bajrang Punia said, “Some people from the federation have approached these girls and offered money to take back their complaint. There is a threat to their (seven complainants) life and all the wrestlers who are protesting here at Jantar Mantar.”

The protest is being led by Commonwealth Games medalists Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia. They have vowed not to vacate the protest site until Singh is booked for sexual harassment and is arrested.

ALSO READ: Protest will end only if BJP MP Brijbhushan is arrested: Wrestlers

Punia has expressed his lack of faith in any committee, including the oversight committee formed by the sports ministry in January, claiming that the committee failed to produce any report and that Singh had received a clean chit. The protestors have alleged that the oversight committee gave a clean chit to Singh without consensus among its members.

Meanwhile, former Haryana CM and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader Dr Udit Raj, and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat joined the protesters in response to their call. The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Delhi Police over a plea filed by the complainant female wrestlers for registration of the FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The protestors have sought support from fellow sportspersons, political leaders, and members of the khap panchayat in Haryana.

The Union sports ministry has directed the Indian Olympic Association to postpone the elections of the federation and set up an ad-hoc committee for the elections of the executive committee of the WFI within 45 days of its formation to manage its day-to-day affairs.

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