Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
The Chandigarh Police on Sunday, 1 January, filed a sexual harassment and criminal intimidation case against Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh, based on a complaint by a junior athletics coach on Friday. Singh has reportedly announced since that he has handed over his portfolio to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on “moral grounds”.
Dismissing the allegations as baseless, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had earlier demanded an independent probe.
What happened? The woman coach held a press conference at the office of the opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which demanded the Manohar Lal Khattar government to immediately discharge Sandeep Singh and set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the matter. The complainant has also demanded security.
What has the complainant said? The complainant said Singh had first seen her at a gym and then contacted her on Instagram. He later insisted that they meet up, she claimed.
She was quoted as saying, "He messaged me on Instagram and said my national games certificate is pending and wanted to meet in this regard...Unfortunately, my certificate has been misplaced by my federation and I have been taking it up with the authorities concerned," NDTV reported.
The woman claimed that when she did finally meet him at his residence-cum-camp office with some other documents she had, that is when Singh indulged in sexual misconduct.
'I Hand Over My Responsibilities': Singh
What has the accused said? Singh was quoted as saying, "There is an attempt to spoil my image. I hope there will be a thorough investigation into the false allegations levelled against me. I hand over the responsibility of the Sports department to the CM until the report of the investigation comes out," news agency ANI reported.
What are the sections against the accused? A spokesperson for Chandigarh police told The Indian Express, “In the matter of complaint made by a woman coach of Haryana against the Haryana Sports Minister, an First Information Report (FIR) under sections 354, 354A, 354B, 342, 506 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Sector 26 police station, Chandigarh and is being investigated”.
Who is the accused? Sandeep Singh, sitting BJP MLA from Pehowa in Kurukshetra, is also a professional field hockey player, and was the captain of the Indian national hockey team.
Singh was even the subject of a biopic released in 2018, titled 'Soorma', in which popular Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh played his role.
What has Haryana Home Minister said? Reacting to the incident, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij told ANI:
“I have listened to her (the female coach) on her complaint. I will talk to CM on this matter. We will ensure justice is served.”