Minister of Sports Anurag Thakur announced on Monday that a five-member oversight committee, headed by legendary boxer MC Mary Kom, will investigate the charges against the boss of the Wrestling Federation of India and also manage the day-to-day running of the sports body.
Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sarita Mor and Sakshi Malik, who held a three-day sit-in protest in Jantar Mantar demanding the resignation of the WFI president, expressed disappointment that they were not consulted before the formation of the committee .
“The ministry has no plans to reconstitute the oversight committee to investigate the allegations against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh,” a source at the ministry told PTI on Wednesday.
“We have formed a fair committee headed by Mary Kom who will look into the details of the case,” the source said, adding that the government is not satisfied with the behavior of the wrestlers when they came out with concerns about the formation of the committee.
According to sources, the protesting wrestlers consider London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar close to the WFI president. In fact, when Yogeshwar supported the beleaguered Sharan, Vinesh had said he was “sitting on WFI’s lap”.
The wrestlers had taken to Twitter on Tuesday to express their displeasure.
However, on Wednesday, Bajrang clarified that the grapplers have no problem with Yogeshwar, but they expected to be consulted before the members were finalized.
“We would like to speak with the Minister of Sports after the Republic Day celebrations. We have no problem whatsoever with members of the committee, but we should have been consulted,” Bajrang Punia told PTI.
Asked if any names have been discussed with them, Bajrang said: “There had been a discussion and these names came up, but we were told to come back to the names after discussion.
“But the names were announced before we answered in the affirmative. The government should not be unhappy with us. What have we done, we are fighting for justice,” he added.
Besides Yogeshwar, ex badminton player and Mission Olympic Cell member Trupti Murgunde, ex-TOPS CEO Rajagopalan and former SAI executive director – teams – Radhica Sreeman are also members of the committee.
Both May Kom and Yogeshwar are also part of the seven-member commission formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the WFI chief.
In addition to legendary boxer Mary Kom and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, the IOA panel includes archer Dola Banerjee and Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) President and IOA Treasurer Sahdev Yadav.
The other members of the IOA committee are two advocates – Talish Ray and Shlok Chandra – in addition to former shuttler and IOA co-secretary Alaknanda Ashok, who is the vice-chair.
The hot wrestlers, including the young Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat and Sonam Malik, started the sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar here on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of the WFI chief.
The wrestlers had accused Sharan, who is also a BJP MP, of acting like a dictator and sexually harassing young wrestlers.
The wrestlers have not disclosed the identities of the athletes who suffered sexual harassment.