WFI Sexual Harassment Case: Probe Panel Member 'Leaking Sensitive Info', Says Vinesh Phogat

In a lengthy post on Twitter, she accused a 'sportsperson member' of the oversight committee of leaking 'sensitive information' to the media amid the #MeToo Investigation against the WFI chief.

New Delhi: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat has alleged that a member of the oversight committee – which is looking into sexual harassment allegations against the former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh – is “leaking sensitive information to the media”.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, February 26, Phogat sought action against the member, alleging that he has been leaking contents of the complaint of sexual harassment to the media. This, she said, not only affects the impartiality of the probe into the ongoing MeToo investigation but also amounts to an undermining of women’s dignity and safety due to the member’s “reckless” attitude.

“It has come to my recent awareness that a sportsperson member of the Oversight Committee has been allegedly leaking contents of the complaint of sexual harassment while reading certain media reports since yesterday,” Phogat wrote in a long post on Twitter, tagging Union sports minister Anurag Thakur.

The said committee was constituted by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) after wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik on January 18 accused BJP MP and WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment. Several other women athletes also joined the chorus, alleging that coaches often sexually harass women athletes and spoke out about an alleged culture of impunity within WFI.

The wrestlers, who sat in an unprecedented protest at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, had pointed to Singh’s alleged “dictatorship” in running the federation, noting that mistreatment of wrestlers had been going on for years. Among the 30 gathered at the protest were also Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha, and Commonwealth Games medallist Sumit Malik. Following the Union government’s order, Singh stepped down as the chief of WFI.

Phogat, in her tweet on Sunday, alleged that it is a “sportsperson member” of the oversight committee who has been compromising the investigation into sexual harassment.

“It is even more appalling that this sportsperson is a member of both the committees enquiring upon the sexual harassment allegations against high-ranking office bearers of the WFI. All this has placed great mistrust towards the committee proceedings. I am feeling let down at the not just weak but also strategic attempts of this committee member towards what should have been a fair and just investigation,” her tweet said.

Seeking the removal of the said member from the committee, Phogat said, “This member has been acting against the interest of women from day one. The lack of empathy and insensitivity displayed by this sportsperson was shocking during the proceedings of the committee. I request this matter to be investigated and all necessary actions to be taken immediately.”