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Not A Criminal, Won’t Resign: WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said the Congress party is behind the ongoing episode.

Wrestlers protest against WFI
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Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Saturday said he is ready for "any kind of investigation" but will not resign from his post as it would mean he has accepted the charges against him.

He said, "I am completely innocent and have full faith in Supreme Court and Delhi Police. I am ready to face any kind of investigation. Resigning as president of Wrestling Federation of India is not a big deal for me, but I will not resign as a criminal."

Seven women wrestlers have accused Singh of sexual harassment. Delhi Police has filed two FIRs in the case. The matter has also reached the Supreme Court.

Singh also said that the Congress is behind the ongoing episode. Singh is a Member of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Following Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's meeting with the wrestlers on Saturday morning, Singh said, "Today it has been seen who is behind this controversy. I have been saying from the beginning that an industrialist and the Congress have a hand in this. They are upset with me." 

Singh, however, did not elaborate what he meant by that.

Top Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogar, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, are protesting since Sunday at Delhi's Jantar Mantar. The Opposition has come in support of wrestlers. Congress leader Priyanka visited the wrestlers on Saturday expressed solidarity with them, accusing the government of "protecting" the WFI chief.

After the matter reached the Supreme Court, the Delhi Police on Friday night registered two FIRs against Singh. While the first FIR pertained to allegations of a minor wrestler and was registered under the POCSO Act, the second was related to outraging modesty.

Singh said, "I'm not a criminal. Resigning means I have accepted their allegations. An FIR has been lodged against me, yet they are sitting on dharna. Why?"

Singh, a sixth-term lawmaker, said his tenure as the WFI chief is complete and he will automatically resign with the election of the new president. He is only playing the role of a "caretaker" till the election.

Singh has completed 12 years as WFI chief and is ineligible to contest for another term. He asked why are the wrestlers still sitting on dharna now when an FIR has been registered against him. 

"Why are they constantly speaking against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sports Ministry?"

Singh said the ongoing dharna by the wrestlers is not a protest of sportspersons but a protest of the "conspirators". 

"They did not wait for the investigation report to be made public and went to the Supreme Court and there raised a new allegation. They are saying that the sport has to be saved but they are not saving the game (by doing this). They have caused a huge loss in the last four months," he said.

In January when allegations first surfaced, the Sports Ministry set up an investigative panel to look into the matter. The wrestlers resumed their protest on Sunday after inaction.

Singh also asked if he had been sexually abusing players for 12 years, why they never took a complaint to the police station, federation or the government till date. "They went straight to Jantar Mantar," he said.

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Singh said he has submitted an audio clip to the probe committee, in which a man is heard speaking about arranging a girl to implicate him.

Stressing that he fully respects the decision of the Supreme Court and the government, Singh alleged the protestors are coming up with new demands everyday.

"First they demanded an FIR and now that the FIR has been lodged, they are demanding to put me in jail. I am a member of Lok Sabha. It has not been by the grace of Vinesh Phogat (one of the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar) but the people of my area have made me an MP," Singh said.

Claiming that the entire Haryana and UP "akhadas" are with him, the MP said it is only "one family's akhada" which is against him. 

"I have full faith in the law of the land. I will definitely be proved innocent. It has been troubling me for a long time. I and my family are being abused. Our supporters are also being targeted but my supporters and family have full faith that I am innocent. Soon, the country will also come to know about it," he added.

(With PTI inputs)

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