After 35 days of appointment Oversight committee by the government, the sidelined WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh appeared before the panel and outrightly rejected all the sexual abuse allegations against him.
Led by the legendary boxer MC Mary Kom, the committee was formed on January 23 to investigate the claims made by the country's top wrestlers that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) boss Brij Bhushan has sexually harassed several women wrestlers, intimidates the athletes and run the sports body in an autocratic manner.
Brij Bhushan arrived with his 20-odd supporters for the meeting which went on for nearly three hours. "Brij Bhushan appeared before the committee today. He straightaway denied all the allegations.
He said he never did anything wrong," a sports ministry source told PTI. Brij Bhushan, however, evaded the waiting media at the SAI headquarters here, saying the investigation is still on and he won't like to make any comment at this point in time.
The allegations were leveled by prominent grapplers such as Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Ravi Dahiya. The wrestlers have already deposed before the committee.
In January, the country's top wrestlers staged a three-day sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding that Brij Bhushan be removed and WFI be disbanded. The BJP MP was later asked to step aside till the completion of the probe into his alleged misconduct.
The Mary Kom-led committee has former wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former shuttler Trupti Murgunde, SAI member Radhica Sreeman and Rajesh Rajagopalan, ex-CEO, Target Olympic Podium Scheme and CWG gold medallist Babita Phogat as its members.
The wrestlers have also alleged that one member of the committee, apparently 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist Dutt, is leaking sensitive information related to the probe to the media. They feel that Dutt is siding with the WFI boss.
In a long social media post, star wrestler Vinesh Phogat, tagging sports minister Anurag Thakur asked for required action to be taken against the committee member.
"It has come to my recent awareness that a sportsperson member of the Oversight Committee has been allegedly leaking contents of the complaint of sexual harassment while reading certain media reports since yesterday. Being a sportsperson it is extremely disheartening to see a fellow sportsperson member of the Oversight Committee has behaved so recklessly. Their attitude towards women is evident from such behavior," she wrote.
India lost the hosting rights of the Asian Championship after wrestlers submitted a written complaint to UWW, the world governing body of the game, about the alleged misconduct of the WFI chief. The event will now be hosted in Astana in April.
(With PTI Inputs)