Wrestlers row: Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Babita Phogat has been added to the oversight committee, which is probing the allegations against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The committee, which was formed by the Sports Ministry, is probing the allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation, financial irregularities and administrative lapses of the WFI and its President. The committee is led by legendary boxer MC Mary Kom.
The ministry informed about the development after releasing a statement. "Former wrestler Babita Phogat has been added to the panel of the Oversight Committee formed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to undertake the day-to-day administration of the Wrestling Federation of India," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier in the month, some top wrestlers of India including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik protested against the WFI chief at Delhi's Jantar Mantar. After holding talks with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, the wrestlers called off their protest following receiving assurances from the government. The ministry also formed a panel to enquire into the allegations of the wrestlers. The committee also includes former wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former shuttler Trupti Murgunde, Radhica Sreeman and Rajesh Rajagopalan, ex-CEO, Target Olympic Podium Scheme. Earlier, the wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat had stated that the committee was formed without their consultation even after getting assurance of being consulted.
While forming the committee, Thakur said, "For the coming month, the committee will investigate the allegations put up by the wrestlers," said the Union Sports Minister. Also, the Sports Minister had announced that the WFI President will step aside till the probe is completed. Earlier, the Wrestling Federation of India had sent a reply to the Sports Ministry of India over the allegations against its Presiden Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The Federation has rejected all the allegations made by the Indian wrestlers, including that of sexual harassment against the body's president Singh.
"The WFI is managed by an elected body as per its constitution, and therefore, there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement in WFI by anyone individually, including the president," the WFI said in its response to the sports ministry.