Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh gave a new angle to the protests against him over the sexual harassment allegations by saying that the athletes are being used by the Congress to target the Bharatiye Janata Party.
Controversy erupted in the Indian wrestling fraternity on Wednesday after Olympians Vinesh Phogat, Sakshee Malik and Bajrang Punia staged a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar and leveled allegations of sexual harassment and physical abuse against the six-time MP Brij Bhushan and several other coaches of the WFI.
Phogat went on to allege that the female wrestlers have been sexually exploited for years by the WFI and its president.
Brij Bhushan Singh has denied all the allegations and instead, gave it a political twist to the entire saga.
"Athletes are being used by the Congress which is targeting the BJP," Singh told India Today. "These players have become puppets of Deepender Hooda and Congress.
"I had defeated Hooda in 2012 elections, Congress was in power in the centre that time. This is not an attack against me, this is an attack against the BJP."
Stressing that the GOP is 'conspiring' to get him removed, he said: "Congress is trying to regain its lost mandate. Congress has conspired against me in 1993 too. This is conspiracy."
The 66-year-old had earlier said that he was ready to be hanged if found guilty in the government probe.
"There has been no incident of sexual harassment. If such a thing has happened, then I will hang myself. Is there any person in front who can say that the Federation harassed any athlete?" Singh said on Wednesday.
The Sports Ministry has sent a notice to the WFI and sought their reply in the matter within 72 hours.
'Allegations of serious nature'
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday vowed to take up the matter of Indian wrestlers vs WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and also assured of "swift action" in the case.
"Allegations levelled by wrestlers are serious in nature. Taking swift action, Govt of India sent a notice to WFI and sought a reply within 72 hours.
"I will try to meet the wrestlers after I reach Delhi. We will talk & listen to them," Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said in Chandigarh.
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