Vijender Singh seeks CBI probe into wrestlers’ allegations

20 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Vijendra Singh National

Olympian boxer Vijender Singh joined wrestlers in a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Friday against the Wrestling Federation India (WFI) and its chairman Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, demandin...

Olympian boxer Vijender Singh joined wrestlers in a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Friday against the Wrestling Federation India (WFI) and its chairman Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, demanding that the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate sexual harassment allegations levelled by the wrestlers.

“I want justice to be served to those wrestlers, there must be a thorough probe into the allegations raised by wrestlers and there must be a CBI probe against those who’re involved in this,” Singh who is now with the Congress party told ANI. The champion boxer also sought for a live recording of any interaction between Union sports minister Anurag Thakur or any official with the wrestlers so that “we will get to know exactly what they have discussed and will understand who is wrong and who is right”.

Images from the Jantar Mantar protest location showed the 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist seated on the ground below, not on the stage with the wrestlers. The wrestlers, who did not want the protest to turn politicised, reportedly asked him to leave the platform. Brinda Karat of the CPI (M), who arrived at the protest location on Thursday, was also asked to leave the platform by the grapplers.

Later, during a news conference with former India discus thrower Krishna Poonia, Vijender said that Prime Minister Modi should speak out about the matter and that action should be taken under applicable provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Several top wrestlers from the nation, including Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Ravi Dahiya, have joined the sit-in protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, which began on Wednesday.

Wrestlers have accused the WFI president and its instructors of sexual harassment of female wrestlers, as well as mismanagement in the federation’s operations. They have also requested that the federation be completely restructured. WFI president Singh, on the other hand, has denied all charges and stated that he will reveal the “political plot” during a news conference today in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.

Wrestlers met with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday, which lasted till early this morning.

However, sources say the meeting was inconclusive, and the minister is expected to meet with grapplers again today at his apartment.