POCSO, sexual harassment norms violated for WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

Satya Prakash amp; Karam Prakash

New Delhi, May 31

More than a month after the Delhi Police lodged an FIR against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on women wrestlers’ complaint of sexual harassment, the grapplers are still agitating to press for his arrest.

Slamming the government over the alleged inaction in arresting the WFI president, Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal on Wednesday wondered if the POCSO Act and the immediate arrest under it applied to all accused other than Brij Bhushan because he belonged to the BJP.

Legal experts are of the view that in POCSO cases, the norm is that the accused is arrested for questioning. “The fact that the FIR was registered against Brij Bhushan on April 28 only after the women wrestlers went to the Supreme Court and that he has not been arrested despite such serious allegations raises questions over the manner in which the probe is being carried out. Generally, under the POCSO Act, the FIR and arrest happen immediately as there is a presumption of guilt,” said Supreme Court senior advocate Vikas Singh.

Police sources, however, said Brij Bhushan was not immediately arrested as they first needed to verify and confirm the age of the “minor” wrestler, who happened to be one of the complainants. The investigators have already taken into possession some documents related to the date of birth of the “minor” wrestler, they added.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday clarified that the sexual harassment case against Singh was under investigation and a report would be submitted to the court concerned.

The clarification came hours after some media outlets reported that the Delhi Police hadn’t found anything substantial against the accused WFI chief in the investigation so far. “It is clarified that this news is “wrong” and the investigation into this sensitive case is under progress with all sensitivity,” the Delhi Police tweeted, only to delete it within an hour. Later, the Delhi Police spokesperson shared another message in Hindi with reporters. “The cases filed by women wrestlers are still under investigation. Status reports are being filed before the court regarding these cases. As the cases are under investigation, it would be against the procedure to say anything before the report is filed in the court,” the message read.

The WFI chief was summoned twice by the police earlier this month and questioned for hours on the allegations levelled against him by the women wrestlers, the sources said, adding that his statement was also recorded.

Claiming to be the uncle of the “minor” wrestler, a person on Tuesday came out against the protesting wrestlers, accusing them of “misleading” his family and using them to frame the WFI chief. On Wednesday, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal issued summons to Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi district, seeking an action taken report on the alleged baring of the identity of the minor complainant and sought registration of an FIR in the matter. The DCW chief asked the DCP to appear before the commission on Friday along with an action taken report in the matter.

The summons was issued after a video was circulated on social media wherein a person claiming to be the uncle of the minor allegedly revealed the identity of the minor. The DCW said it was a criminal offence under the POCSO Act.

The commission asked the Delhi Police to provide a copy of the FIR along with details of the accused arrested in the matter and sought to know the reasons for not arresting main accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh until now.

The commission also asked the Delhi Police to provide a copy of the probe report clarifying if the accused WFI chief was in any way linked to the act of revealing the identity of the minor wrestler.

Be patient, Anurag tells wrestlers

The government on Wednesday reached out to the wrestlers with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur urging them to be patient and not take any extreme step till the conclusion of the Delhi Police probe into the allegations of sexual misconduct against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Will hang myself if charges proved

In Barabanki, Brij Bhushan said he would hang himself even if one charge against him was proved. The BJP MP from UP’s Kaiserganj said wrestlers were like his children and he wouldn’t blame them since he had heavily invested in their success.

Why wasn’t brij bhushan arrested?

  • FIR registered against WFI chief Brij Bhushan on April 28 only after women wrestlers moved the SC
  • Under POCSO Act, generally the FIR and the arrest happen immediately as there is presumption of guilt
  • Accused WFI president not arrested so far even as women wrestlers continue to agitate

Minor’s identity disclosed, DCW seeks action

The Delhi Commission for Women issued summons to DCP after a video revealed the identity of the minor complainant. The panel has sought an FIR, saying it’s a criminal offence under POCSO Act

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