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Ex-WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Seeks Release in Harassment Case Over Reporting Delay

Citing delay in reporting offences, former WFI Chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan seeks discharge from case against him.

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BJP MP and former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Friday sought to be discharged in an alleged sexual harassment case by six women wrestlers, citing delay in reporting the alleged offence and contradictions in the complainants' statements.

Singh's counsel told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Priyanka Rajpoot of Rouse Avenue Court that the incidents were said to have occurred in 2012 but were only reported to the police in 2023.

In addition, he contended discrepancies in the timing and locations of the alleged incidents, asserting no clear link between them.

The defence pointed out contradictions between the complainants' affidavits and statements.

The court is set to resume hearing the case on 6 February, as it considers whether to frame charges against Singh and co-accused Vinod Tomar, former Assistant Secretary of WFI.

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The Delhi Police had concluded its arguments last month. The arguments by police had resumed before ACMM Rajpoot, who started the fresh hearing after the transfer of ACMM Harjeet Singh Jaspal who had previously presided over the case.

The Delhi Police had contended that incidents of alleged sexual harassment, whether occurring overseas or within the country, were interconnected and part of the same transaction. Hence, the police had said that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

The BJP MP had earlier questioned the jurisdiction of Delhi court claiming that there was no action or consequence which happened in India.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, representing the Delhi Police, had argued that under Section 354 of the IPC, the case is not time-barred, as it carries a maximum punishment of five years.

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Addressing the issue of delay in filing complaints, Srivastava had brought up issue of fear among the women wrestlers, saying that wrestling held immense significance in their lives, and they were hesitant to come forward due to concerns about jeopardising their careers.

The prosecution had argued that Singh's defence, claiming his actions were fatherly, demonstrated awareness of his acts. The accused's justification that he was checking breathing patterns had contradicted the victims' statements about inappropriate touching.

The police had claimed that there is sufficient prima facie evidence to proceed with trial against Singh and co-accused Tomar.

The prosecution had earlier said that the act of sexual harassment of the victims was a continuing offence, as it did not stop at any particular time. Delhi Police had also told the court that Singh never missed an opportunity to "sexually harass" women wrestlers, adding that there is sufficient evidence to frame charges against him and proceed with the trial.

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