Sports Ministry asks the Wrestling Federation to stop all ongoing activities, suspend the Assistant Minister

The Sports Ministry on Saturday suspended the assistant secretary of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Vinod Tomar, following allegations by activists of sexual harassment and corruption against the head of the facility. sports official, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. It decided to suspend Tomar, “effective immediately, to ensure WFI is functioning properly”. The department said it has also directed WFI to suspend “all ongoing activities with immediate effect”, including the Ranked Tournament in Gonda, UP, Sharan’s stronghold.

This comes a day after Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced the creation of an oversight committee to investigate allegations made by some of the country’s top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya, against Sharan and his body.

Regarding Tomar, the ministry said in a letter owned by PTI, that his presence would be “harmful to the development of this high-priority discipline”.

“The Department has noted reports of WFI activity, including the role of Shri Vinod Tomar and, there is reason to believe that his continued presence will be detrimental to the development of the discipline. this high priority,” the ministry said in the letter.

Distressed wrestlers have alleged that Tomar took bribes from athletes and was involved in financial corruption, helping him build a multibillion-dollar fortune.

According to the sources, the ministry will announce the names of the supervisory committee members on Sunday.

In a press release, the ministry said it “communicated with the Indian Wrestling Federation on Saturday that in accordance with the Government’s decision to appoint the Oversight Committee to investigate various allegations of members against the Federation, WFI will suspend all ongoing activities effective immediately, unless a Supervisory Committee is formally appointed and takes over the day-to-day operations of WFI”.

It added, “In the direction of the immediate suspension of all activities, the Department of Sports has requested that WFI also cancel the Ranked Tournament taking place in Gonda, UP.” In this regard, the Department has also requested the WFI to return the entrance fees charged to participants of the ongoing event.

The ministry’s supervisory committee will have the power to make all decisions on matters relating to Indian wrestling while also overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the federation.

Earlier in the day, the WFI denied all allegations, including sexual harassment, against the organization’s president and stated that the wrestlers’ protest was motivated by a “show underground program to overthrow the current management”.

WFI denied all allegations in response to the government announcement and asserted that “there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement” within the federation.

The ministry sought an explanation from the WFI after the country’s top wrestlers sat on a dharna and alleged that the head of the federation sexually harassed female wrestlers and acted like a “dictator”. “.

Before the wrestlers agreed to end their protest, the Olympic Association of India on Friday set up a seven-member committee of its own, led by MC Mary Kom, to investigate the allegations. against Sharan.

The IOA Council was formed even as the wrestlers’ sit-ins entered their third day.

Besides legendary boxer Mary Kom and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, the panel also included archer Dola Banerjee and president of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) and IOA treasurer Sahdev Yadav.

The IOA committee also has two supporters – Talish Ray and Shlok Chandra – alongside former shuttle athlete and IOA general secretary Alaknanda Ashok, the committee’s vice-chairman.

The decision was made during an emergency meeting of the IOA Executive Council, attended by Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra, Olympic bronze medalist Yogeshwar, and IOA president PT. Usha and joint secretary Kalyan Chaubey.

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