Representative Image Only

Delhi police take woman wrestler to Brij Bhushan Singh’s official residence for crime reconstruction amid rumours of compromise

“A tactic to intimidate her and make her relive trauma,” alleged All India Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale, on wrestler Sangeeta Phogat’s ordeal. Meanwhile, the Delhi police has claimed that they, “took her to the Wrestling Federation of India’s office and not to Singh’s residence.

THE Delhi Police on Friday reportedly took wrestler-complainant Sangeeta Phogat to the official residence of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in Delhi to recreate the sequence of events of the alleged crime. 

Phogat and six other female wrestlers have accused Singh of sexual harassment, assault and stalking. Since one of the accused is a minor, a separate first information report (FIR) under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2010 relating to aggravated sexual assault has also been filed against Singh.

Battling rumours that she has voluntarily visited Singh’s house to reach a ‘compromise’, Sangeeta’s sister, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, took to Twitter to clarify that “Women wrestlers had gone to the crime site for police investigation, but it was run in the media that they had gone for a compromise.

It is not immediately clear whether other wrestler-complainants were taken to Singh’s residence as well. 

Also read: Delhi Police tells SC preliminary inquiry might be needed before FIR against WFI president for sexual harassment allegations

The Delhi police, however, claimed that the wrestler-complainant were taken to the WFI’s office, and not to Singh’s residence. 

In a tweet issued around 4 p.m. yesterday, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), New Delhi district said, “Wrong news is going on about the woman wrestler going to Brij Bhushan Singh’s house. Please don’t pay attention to rumours. On behalf of the Delhi police, the female wrestler was taken to the Wrestling Federation of India office for investigation.”

As per an unnamed source quoted by news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), “At 1:30 p.m., women officers took Sangeeta Phogat to Brij Bhushan’s official residence in Delhi. They were there for half an hour. They asked her to recreate the scene and recall the places where she faced harassment.” She was accompanied by women police constables, the source added.

Crime scene reconstruction is often used as a method to determine the likelihood of a crime, the possible sequence of events and to test out the theories of the complainant, the accused and the investigators. 

Evidence may be gathered in the process; though, in the present case, the likelihood of procuring evidence may be low in light of the time that has elapsed since when the alleged offence took place.

Also read: Sexual harassment allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh: the story so far, and what lies ahead

The Delhi Police has violated the rights of the complainant by using “tactics to intimidate her and to make her relive her trauma,” alleged All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) national spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a letter to the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW).

It is unfathomable and shocking that the Delhi Police took the sexual assault survivor and complainant to the house of the accused to ‘recreate the crime scene’,” Gokhale says in the letter, adding, “This is not a case of murder or homicide where a procedure like this is required to be undertaken.

Clearly, there is an institutionalised attempt being made by the Delhi police to intimidate the complainant-survivor and to create fear in her mind. This is compounded by the fact that she was taken to the residence of the sexual assault accused who has not yet been arrested,” the letter reads.

Gokhale has requested the DCW to take immediate cognisance of the incident, register a complaint and initiate an investigation against the officials of the Delhi police involved in the incident.

The women wrestlers and their allies had begun a dharna at Jantar Mantar in January this year demanding action against Singh.

Earlier this week, the protestors decided to temporarily suspend their protest seeking, among other things, the immediate arrest of Singh, after meeting with the Union minister of sports Anurag Thakur, who assured them that a chargesheet will be filed in the case by June 15.

Also read: Chargesheet against Brijbhushan Sharan Singh by June 15, WFI elections by June 30: Government assures protesting wrestlers 

During the meeting, held on Wednesday at the invitation of the sports minister, the government also promised that Singh or his close associates would not be appointed to handle the affairs of the WFI in future. 

The election of office bearers and executive committee members of the WFI “should be conducted by June 30,” Thakur said after the meeting. 

Players’ opinions should be considered in this regard,” he added.

An ‘internal complaints committee’ (ICC) with “a woman as head,” as mandated under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act (PoSH), 2013, will also be formed within the WFI, Thakur assured after the meeting.

FIRs lodged against protesting wrestlers and their allies on May 28— the day on which the new Parliament was inaugurated— would be withdrawn, Olympic bronze medallist freestyle wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik conveyed to the media after the meeting.

Charges relating to rioting and unlawful assembly, among other things, were invoked against dozens of protestors, through an FIR registered at the Parliament Street police station.

If no action is taken by June 15, we will continue our protest,” Punia said on Wednesday.

The Leaflet