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Wrestler’s protest: Two FIRs registered over complaint by female wrestlers against WFI chief

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NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Friday registered two separate FIRs against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on complaints of sexual harassment levelled by some female wrestlers, including a minor. “Two FIRs have been registered at Connaught Place police station. The first one pertains to allegations levelled by a minor victim which is registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act along with sections concerning outraging of modesty etc,” DCP (New Delhi) Pranav Tayal said. The second FIR, Tayal said, was registered to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the allegations by the adult complainants under the relevant sections.

Earlier in the day, on Friday itself against Singh. The WFI president was accused of sexual harassment by seven national-level women wrestlers in their April 21 complaint to police before they started a sit-in protest  and then moved court. The SC ordered the Delhi Police commissioner to provide security to the complainants based on threat assessment.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed a bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud and and Justice P S Narasimha, “The FIR will be registered today. The petition does not survive for further adjudication.”

The wrestlers’ counsel Kapil Sibal shared a sealed cover with the court claiming that a minor athlete, who had also filed a sexual harassment complaint against the WFI president, was forced to go underground because of threats.

‘Investigations by local police will not suffice’ “Safety and security of these wrestlers is the priority. Second, investigations by local police will not suffice as the accused faces 40 more FIRs including one in a murder case. That is worrying. The investigations can be entrusted to a special task force monitored by the court,” Sibal said.

The SG said, “Let this aspect be left to the Delhi Police commissioner.” The bench recorded the SG’s statement on registration of FIR and said, “The commissioner of Delhi Police will make an independent assessment of the threat perception to the complainant wrestlers, including the minor girl, and provide them with requisite security.” It ordered listing of the petition on Friday for a report on the security given to wrestlers.

Objecting to keeping the petition pending, the SG said there could not be two courts, one jurisdictional court and the SC monitoring the investigation. The CJI-led bench said, “We are not passing any order relating to the constitution of STF. Let us see on Friday how the investigation proceeds.”

The SG said he was not objecting to the SC keeping the petition pending but expressed apprehension that “there is something else that is brewing”. “They have prayed for registration of FIR, which we are doing. But there is also a process for registration of FIRs. Just because some people are in Delhi, they can come to the SC directly without following the procedure prescribed in Criminal Procedure Code. What about the vast multitude of people in other parts of the country who cannot approach the SC?” he asked.

Sibal said the alleged sexual harassment was happening since 2016 and a complaint was made orally. In January, the wrestlers complained in writing, a committee was set up, but no one knew what the report said, and ministry and the Indian Olympic Association did nothing. He added that under the law, an FIR should have been lodged which would not have forced the wrestlers to approach the SC.

Slamming the committee for purportedly giving a clean chit to the accused, they demanded that the committee’s report be made public.

Will Brijbhushan not be arrested now because of being in a position?

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