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Brij Bhushan Singh case: Accused touched breasts of woman wrestler on pretext of checking breath pattern
New Delhi: The Rouse Avenue court on Saturday heard the arguments of senior counsel for six women wrestlers who alleged that they were sexually harassed by the then WFI Chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. He allegedly touched their breast on the pretext of checking their breathing pattern, as if he was a doctor.
The counsel also submitted on the basis of the statements that all the women complainants pointed towards Neta ji (Singh) as the accused who committed the alleged offence. Their statements were corroborated (supported) by the statements of the witnesses.
BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been charge sheeted by the Delhi police for the alleged offence of sexual harrasment. The allegations were made by six women wrestlers. This case is at the stage of arguments of charge.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harjeet Singh Jaspal heard the arguments advanced by the senior advocate Rebecca John for the women wrestlers.
Senior advocate Rebecca John while arguing the matter referred to the statements of six complainants and six witnesses to establish that the offence of sexual harrasment under section 354 IPC is made out against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
"All the six women told the court that the accused on the pretext of checking their breath put his hand in their t-shirt and fondled their private parts without their consent. If it is not, then what is," Senior advocate John submitted.
She further argued that these women talked about thier discomfort. He fondled them without any provocation or consent on the pretext of checking their breath pattern. He never did this with male wrestlers.
The definition of criminal force and assault is fulfilled as these are women who were being fondled and provoked without their consent. He is neither a doctor nor any person authorised to do so and even a senior wrestler said he never saw him do the same with the men wrestlers.
Senior counsel submitted that a case of sexual harrasment under section 354 IPC is made out against the accused as there was a use of Criminal force by the accused and he was intimidated.
She also referred to one incident in which the accused allegedly threatened one of the complainants at the WFI office over a tweet she posted after non-performance in a game in France as the required facilities were not provided to the team.
On the point of limitations, the senior advocate argued that at the moment offence under section 354 IPC is made out, and the elements of limitation go out. The Offence of section 354 A is also made out.
She read out the statement of six women wrestlers who alleged inappropriate sexual advances made by the accused at Mangolia, Kajakistan, Jakarta, Bulgaria, Lucknow, Bellary and New Delhi.
The senior counsel argued that they are medal winners. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain from filing the false complaint.
She also mentioned three incidents of intimidation by issuing show-cause notices to one of the women wrestlers. He was adopting the "Carrot and stick" policy.
The senior advocate also submitted that the wrestlers also raised questions about the conduct of the oversight committee while recording their statements. The statements of women wrestlers were recorded in the presence of male members who were laughing. We were not comfortable in front of them.
She also said that the recording of the statement was not properly videographed. The video was kept switched in and off when there was an allegation.
The senior advocate also referred to the statement of a woman wrestler who stated that her sister was also a victim of sexual harrasment. The accused had also touched her abdomen. She was looking uncomfortable.
I never heard that he ever touched the boy wrestler touch and check their breath, the statement stated.
He also touched and hugged another women wrestler and this incident was witnessed by a male wrestler. The statement of her husband also corroborated two incidents that occured at the WFI office.
The statement of the Second complainant was referred to, who talks of two incidents.
She stated after a shoulder injury, met the accused at the WFI office in New Delhi. She requested to issue an SAI card so that she could get the free treatment. As per the statement, he said, "I am ready to bear your expenses but you will have to make a physical relationship."
Her statement was corroborated by another witness, who saw him checking the navel of the complainant. He never checked my navel, never asked me anything, she argued.
A Coach who accompanied the complainant to the office of WFI corroborated the statement of the complainant.
The senior advocate also referred to the statement of another Complainant who mentioned an incident that took place in Lucknow. She alleged that during the shoot of a group photograph, she was groped by the accused when she was standing beside him. He hit on her bum. He pushed me by my shoulder. Thereafter, she came in the front row for the group photo. This incident was witnessed by a referee. He and another referee said the same thing.
The 5th complainant, talks of the incident that took place at Bellary Karnataka during the junior championships in March 2021.
She stated that he called me by name, and I went to him. He asked me to take a photo. He pulled me by hand. I pushed him a little bit. He said you are behaving over smart. He issued a warning.
The senior counsel also referred to the 6th complainant who stated sexual harrasment in 2012 during junior championships held in May and June 2012.
She stated, "He was in his room and sitting on his bed. He asked me to sit on the bed. I sat on the bed near his feet. He came near me and hugged me tight. I pushed him and stood up. I ran away from there. On coming I described the incident to my mother."
"It took me 4-5 years to recover from the incident. He called me regularly and harassed me", the complainant has stated in the statement.
The senior advocate argued that the incidents of bed constitute offences 354 and 354 A.
The complainants were accompanied by their relatives who were not allowed to go inside. And they described the incidents soon after to their partner, husband, and mother, the counsel argued.
She also referred to Sec 6 of the Indian Evidence Act which says these statements are admissible as the incidents were described soon after they took place.
"What I said to my partner, coach, and mother soon after the incident within a reasonable time is admissible," the counsel argued.
Six Complainants, and six witnesses who corroborated and directly witnessed the incidents. This is sufficient to frame charges, she further argued. Six witnesses referred the Netaji as accused, senior advocate John argued.