Chandigarh: Olympian and former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh stepped down as Haryana sports minister on “moral grounds” on Sunday, hours after being booked late on Saturday by Chandigarh police for sexual harassment.
A junior woman athletics coach had accused Singh, 36, of sexual harassment and lodged a police complaint on Friday, following which the Chandigarh police booked him under section 354 IPC (criminal force against a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (compelling her to be naked), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation). The Chandigarh police has also set up a special investigation team, comprising DSP Palak Goyal and the heads of the women and cyber cells, to investigate the case.
The complainant, who had taken part in the Rio Olympics, was recruited as a junior coach in September under the government’s outstanding sportsperson scheme, according to reports.
Mr Singh, an MLA from Pehowa, in Kaithal district, termed the charges baseless and said the charges were “politically motivated” and an attempt to spoil his image.
Mr Singh said he hoped there would be a thorough probe into the charges. He has, however, not resigned from the Cabinet and holds the printing and stationery department portfolio.
The complainant alleged that the minister had first seen her at a gym following which he contacted her on Instagram insisting they meet. Mr Singh had also messaged that her national games certificate was pending for which he wanted to meet her, she alleged. The complainant alleged that she then met Mr Singh at his residence-cum-camp office, where he molested her.
The woman held that Mr Singh first took her to a side cabin and said that he liked her when he saw her first and that he would keep her happy if she reciprocated. He even tore her T-shirt, she alleged and said that she had called for help but in vain.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and several other opposition leaders have demanded a fair probe into the case.
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