‘Get ready for…’: Former Haryana CM Hooda hits back at WFI chief

23 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

Hooda National

Hooda warned beleaguered Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan on Sunday that he could expect a defamation action.

Former Haryana state minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda warned beleaguered Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan on Sunday that he could expect a defamation action. This comes after Singh stated that the charge of sexual harassment by wrestlers was made at the request of the former Haryana Chief Minister and his son, Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, the former Haryana CM said he was consulting his lawyers on filing a defamation suit. “We know how to respect our daughters. On what evidence did Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh took our name in this matter? There should be a fair and impartial investigation in this case,” Bhupinder Hooda said.

In the midst of a storm over allegations of sexual harassment and fiscal mismanagement at the helm of the country’s top wrestling body, the WFI chief was asked by the Union Sports ministry to step aside and stay away from the federation’s day-to-day operations while a seven-member oversight committee investigates the charges.

The investigative team, led by renowned pugilist and Olympian MC Mary Kom, has been given four weeks to submit its findings. The wrestlers sat in protest in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, led by renowned grapplers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, demanding the removal of the WFI chairman and a comprehensive revamp of the organisation.

The protest was called off, however, as Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced the formation of an oversight committee to investigate the complaints levelled against the BJP MP. Meanwhile, the Congress held a rally in sympathy with the wrestlers on Saturday, during which party members burnt an effigy of the WFI president.

Atul Mahajan, a Congress lawmaker from Ambala, demanded justice for the wrestlers and action against the BJP MP, saying the government should order a fair and impartial investigation into the wrestlers’ charges.

“Those who abuse positions that they hold by indulging in such acts should be removed. The BJP was trying to save one of its own till the wrestlers erupted in protest,” Mahajan said.

On a fresh 40-day parole granted to rape convict godman, Baba Ram Rahim Singh, the former Hayana CM said, “Every prisoner has the right to get parole. He is entitled to a parole under the law of the land. Ram Rahim must have been granted parole after due process.”

On the party’s prospects in the 2024 Assembly elections, the former Haryana CM said, “The Congress workers in the state are so strong in the state that they don’t need to be led by anyone. No matter what the BJP says or does, the Congress will form the next government in Haryana as well as at the Centre. The public response to the Bharat Jodo Yatra goes to show that our prospects are getting better by the day.”