Last Updated: January 22, 2023, 19:36 IST
The Centre has ‘heard’ wrestlers’ allegations of sexual harassment and corruption levelled against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches, union sports minister Anurag Thakur said on Sunday.
The Minister’s statement came a day after the government suspended WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar and put and stop to “all ongoing activities with immediate effect”, including the Ranking Tournament in Gonda, UP- Sharan’s stronghold- till the oversight committee formed to probe the charges is investigating the matter.
“Centre has heard all the players pertaining to allegations levelled against WFI. A tournament was stopped immediately, the assistant secretary was sacked and an oversight committee will begin an impartial probe so that everything gets clear,” Thakur said at an event in Kolkata.
On Friday, Thakur announced the formation of an oversight committee to probe the charges levelled by some of the country’s top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya, against Sharan and his body.
Regarding Tomar, the Union Sports Ministry in a letter on Friday that his presence will be “detrimental to the development of this high-priority discipline”.
“The Ministry has taken note of the reports about the functioning of the WFI, including the role of Shri Vinod Tomar and, has the reasons to believe that his continued presence will be detrimental to the development of this high-priority discipline,” the ministry said in the letter.
The aggrieved wrestlers had alleged that Tomar took bribes from athletes and was involved in financial corruption, helping him to build property worth crores.
According to sources, the ministry is expected to announce the names of its oversight committee members today. The committee of the ministry will have the power to take all decisions on matters concerning Indian wrestling while also overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the federation.
Meanwhile, the WFI has denied all the charges in its response to the government’s notice and asserted that “there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement ” in the federation.
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