Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt in ministry’s probe panel against WFI boss | More sports News – Times of India



NEW DELHI: After a two-day delay, sports minister Anurag Thakur on Monday announced the names of the members of the oversight committee formed late Friday night to look into allegations of wrestlers who held a high-profile protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh last week.
The five-member panel will be led by legendary boxer and IOA’s athletes commission chairperson M C Mary Kom and will have former wrestler and Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt as a member. It will probe “allegations of sexual harassment against the WFI president, officials and some coaches, and financial mismanagement in the federation, as alleged by prominent athletes”.
Meanwhile, a plea filed in Delhi HC sought an FIR against the protesting wrestlers for “blackmailing” Singh. Moved by Singh’s cook, the plea was later withdrawn.
Panel will run day-to-day affairs of WFI for now
The sports ministry, in an office order on the oversight committee formed in connection with the allegations made by prominent wrestlers, acknowledged that the situation was “unprecedented” and called for immediate measures to ameliorate the grievances of sportspersons and to promote good governance in WFI.
Apart from Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt, the committee will consist of former badminton player Trupti Murgunde, Sports Authority of India’s former executive director (teams) Radhica Sreeman and ex-CEO, Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), Cdr (retd) Rajesh Rajagopalan. The ministry order stated: “The ministry, in consonance with the provisions of the sports code 2011 and, in compliance with principles of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) policy on safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sports and the principles of Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act 2013, hereby instructs the executive committee of the WFI to abstain with immediate effect, as an interim measure, from administering and managing the day-to-day activities of the federation, until further orders and hereby appoints an oversight committee as a purely interim measure.”
Meanwhile, Singh, also the Kaiserganj MP, said in a press release that he had nothing to do with the plea filed in Delhi HC against the protesting wrestlers. “I have not authorised any lawyer, legal company or my close aides and representatives to move the court on my behalf,” Singh tweeted in Hindi. The petition was filed by one Vicky Singh, said to be Singh’s cook, seeking an FIR against top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia. The petition was withdrawn after Singh’s tweet.
The address in the petition was listed as 21, Ashoka Road, Singh’s official MP residence in Delhi. The petition stated that the media had now transformed into a “janata adalat” (public court) and started intervening in the proceedings of the court.
Oversight committee members Mary Kom and Yogeshwar are also part of a separate seven-member probe panel named by the IOA to specifically investigate the allegations of sexual harassment against Singh and others.
Sreeman, a member of the ministry’s oversight committee, was the regional director of SAI’s Sonepat centre for several years. This centre houses the national campers in men’s wrestling and shares a good rapport with several of the players.
As opposed to the ministry’s four-week deadline for the oversight committee to submit its report, no such time frame has been fixed for the IOA probe panel.
It would be interesting to watch how the two panels approach Singh – a six-time Lok Sabha MP – for recording his statement, given his stature as a BJP strongman, the clout he wields in his constituency of Gonda in UP’s Kaiserganj, where he has stationed himself since the controversy broke out.
Earlier in the day, Thakur told reporters in Kolkata: “The WFI president will not discharge his duties and stay away from its day-to-day affairs. The oversight committee will look after the functioning of the federation till its mandated duration and will probe the serious allegations against him. In the next one month, this committee will probe into the sexual allegations and other charges after talking to all parties and submit its report,” Thakur said.
Thakur had decided to form the committee on late Friday night following discussions with the agitating wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya.
On the petition filed in Delhi HC, advocate Shrikant Prasad confirmed the petitioner’s identity as the BJP MP’s cook and said the petitioner had withdrawn the appeal due to immense pressure. “The petitioner and I discussed the issue. He is not willing to take the petition forward due to extreme pressure,” said the counsel.
The plea had stated that the protesting players had crossed their limits to tarnish the reputation and dignity of the Brij Bhushan by publicly making serious allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Meanwhile, for the second day in a row, Singh stayed put at his residence in Nawabganj, Gonda. Singh and his sons also maintained distance from the Nandini Nagar educational institute for two days and were not seen anywhere close to the wrestling venue. A close aide of the MP said that on Tuesday Brij Bhushan Singh was scheduled to step out to attend some private events within the constituency.
Additional security forces were deployed at the Nawabganj and Gonda railway stations from Sunday night as a precautionary measure.
(Inputs from Vineet Upadhyay & Shalabh)





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