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Wrestling

'Hugging a woman not an offence': Brij Bhushan's bizarre pleas in sexual harassment case

Outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh laid out a series of defences before the court on Wednesday - each more bizarre than the last.

Hugging a woman not an offence: Brij Bhushans bizarre pleas in sexual harassment case
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Former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at the new parliament house

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 Aug 2023 1:25 PM GMT

Outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused in a case of alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers, on Wednesday came up with a series of bizarre pleas in front of a Delhi court.

Advocate Rajiv Mohan, appearing for Singh, said that hugging or touching a woman without a sexual intent is not an offence.

"These cosmetic grounds won't hold that I (complainant) was under threat. If you (complainants) are moving freely and for five years you did not come forward and then saying that you were under threat is not a valid explanation," he said.

After having been done with the stale argument of enough time having passed before the complaints were made, the defence moved to the site of the alleged crimes. The counsel added that the court had no jurisdiction to try the case since the offences are alleged to have been committed outside India.

"The offences committed outside India cannot be tried by the court due to the lack of sanction under. Two offences are related to Ashoka Road and Siri Fort. Offence at Siri Fort is only of hugging... Touching a woman without a criminal force or sexual intent is not an offence," he said.

If the defence had not gotten sufficiently bizarre by this point, the counsel then went on to say that wrestling is a male-dominated sport and so Brij Bhushan's behaviour is not an offence because coaches can do so out of 'anxiety'.

"Female coaches are rare. If a coach, out of joy, after an achievement, is hugging a player, it can't fall under the category of offence... The event is such and if a male coach hugs a player out of anxiety is not an offence," he said.

The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against the six-time MP on June 15 under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-D (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

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