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WFI chief claims Punia, Deepender Hooda hatched plot; thanks Akhilesh

Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Sunday alleged that Congress leader Deepender Hooda hatched the conspiracy against him and praised SP chief Akhilesh Yadav

Bajrang Punia

Bajrang Punia

Press Trust of India Gonda (UP)

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Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing sexual harassment allegations and protest by a section of top wrestlers, Sunday alleged that Congress leader Deepender Hooda hatched the conspiracy against him and praised SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for not supporting the agitators.
Singh, who is also a BJP MP, alleged that Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist grappler Bajrang Punia was also involved in the conspiracy against him.
The WFI chief is in the eye of a storm after the grapplers levelled sexual harassment charges against him and demanded his arrest as well as ouster from the Wrestling Federation of India. Various political parties, including the Congress and AAP, have lent their support to the wrestlers.
Singh, who has till now remained defiant about not quitting his post, said that he was ready to resign if it would make the protesters go back home. "If they go back and sleep peacefully after my resignation, I am ready to do so."

Interacting with reporters at his residence in Bishnoharpur, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh alleged that "this whole conspiracy was hatched by Congress leader Deepender Hooda and wrestler Bajrang Punia. We have an audio (clip) to prove this. When the time comes, it will be handed over to the Delhi Police."

About political leaders visiting the protest site of wrestlers in Delhi's Jantar Mantar, the WFI president said, "The fight has now gone out of the hands of the players. Political parties have entered into this. I could see the signs from day one."

Talking to PTI here, the WFI president said, "I want to thank the leader of the Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav (for not siding with the protesting wrestlers). I know him since his childhood. I am elder to him. Though there are political differences between us, Akhilesh knows the truth."

"If there are 10,000 wrestlers in Uttar Pradesh, 8,000 of them are from the Yadav community and belong to the Samajwadi family. Hence they know the truth," he said.
The Delhi Police on Friday registered two FIRs against Singh on allegations of sexual harassment levelled by seven women wrestlers. While the first FIR pertained to allegations of a minor wrestler and was registered under the POCSO Act, the second was related to outraging modesty.
The BJP MP from Kaiserganj added that the protesters are mere "toys" in the hands of the Opposition.
"All these players have become toys in the hands of the Congress and other opposition parties. Their motive is political and not my resignation," Singh said, adding that he was yet to receive a copy of the FIR registered against him.
The WFI chief wondered why the railway board was not stopping wrestlers associated with the railways from sitting on protest in Delhi's Jantar Mantar.
"It is their right to protest. But, can a player associated with the railways sit on a protest like this where objectionable slogans are being raised against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath," he asked.
Replying to a question, the BJP MP said, "Don't drag the party (BJP) into this. These allegations are levelled against me as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India and not as a BJP MP."

"I have to prove my innocence... If the party asks me to resign, I will do so immediately."

About Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi's participation in the wrestlers' protest, Singh said "She does not know the facts. Deepender Hooda, the architect of this conspiracy, brought her to the protest site."

"The day she comes to know the truth or the day the investigation report comes out she will realize that she should not have gone to the protest site. I openly challenge them to fight against me from Kaiserganj, Gonda, Shravasti or any Lok Sabha seat in the area. The result will clear all misunderstandings."

The BJP MP claimed that "a big industrialist is responsible for the conspiracy against me." Asked to name the industrialist, he said, "If I do so, he will get me killed."

The protesting wrestlers had on Saturday warned against using their platform for political gains claiming few people were trying to take their fight for justice in a different direction.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 30 2023 | 9:27 PM IST

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