The decision to have Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh resign on Friday night in the aftermath of allegations of sexual harassment by the country’s top wrestlers was the result of frantic efforts behind the scenes to break the impasse with the protesting wrestlers.
In the lack of “concrete, documented complaints,” according to insiders, the Sports Ministry initially proposed establishing a commission to investigate the charges. Still, the wrestlers were adamant that Singh must leave the country.
With Republic Day approaching in five days, the leadership exerted pressure to end the stalemate. “This year also marks India’s presidency of the G-20. According to a party source, “everyone, even the prime minister, is concerned with the country’s image.” “The executive leadership did not want the protests to continue. Given that these are claims of sexual harassment, there is also little room for giving the accused a long leash.
From a late-night intervention by a top government official on Friday to two lengthy meetings with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who cut short his Himachal tour to return to the capital, the Government had its work cut out for it.
The Deccan Era has learned that the protesting wrestlers broke off their three-day strike only after receiving guarantees that action will be done against Singh. In light of their claims against “powerful” officials, they were also provided assurances for their own protection.
Saturday, the Ministry of Sports announced the suspension of Vinod Tomar, Assistant Secretary of the WFI, citing “reasons to think his continuing presence would be detrimental” to the “growth of this high priority discipline.”
Tomar’s departure takes place a day after the wrestlers’ meeting with Thakur, which lasted nearly seven hours and was the second in as many days. According to sources, the wrestlers spoke with a top member of the government during the Friday meeting.
Bajrang, who sat next to the Minister, stated, “We have been given safety and security by the government because the WFI president previously threatened us.”
The yet-to-be-named monitoring group will oversee the “day-to-day operations of the WFI” and “shall investigate the charges made by famous sportspeople of Sexual Misconduct, Financial Irregularities, and Administrative failures,” according to a statement from the Ministry. The investigation will conclude in four weeks, it was said.
In his response to the Sports Ministry’s notification, Singh stated that the claims were “unsubstantiated…
“These allegations are speculative, ill-intentioned, vicious, and baseless.”
The letter, which was signed by WFI general secretary VN Prasood, asserted that the demonstration was part of a “vast, broader effort to smear and destroy” the federation and its leader.
Saturday, Singh stated in an interview with The Deccan Era, “I welcome the investigation. This action is correct. I will assist the committee in every way possible. Because I have not committed any wrongdoing, I am 100 percent convinced that I will be found innocent.”
He stated that he will explain to the investigation committee how “the entire plot was hatched against me by an industrialist having ties to many criminal elements in Haryana, Delhi, and Western UP.”
When asked about the General Body meeting he had arranged for tomorrow in Ayodhya, Singh stated that it was no longer pertinent and that he would not be attending.
Regarding the sexual harassment charges, he stated, “I have had no complaints…
A year earlier, there was an incident during a different sporting event, and we subsequently videoconferenced with numerous athletes. Some of the protesting athletes at Jantar Mantar were present at the meeting, but they did not report being harassed at the time.
Singh said that the charges were part of a conspiracy against him since he had stated, “I have challenged Haryana’s wrestling domination.”