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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 22 February 2024 4.07 AM IST

Checking pulse rate without sexual intent is not offence; Brij Bhushan tells court

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NEW DELHI: The counsel for Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh argued that there is no basis for allegations levelled against the accused.

The counsel also argued that Singh, an accused in the sexual harassment of women wrestlers case, only checked the pulse rate. "Without sexual intent checking pulse rate is not an offence," he argued.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Vinod Tomar have been charge-sheeted in a case of sexual harassment, lodged on the basis of complaints by six women wrestlers.

The Oversight Committee was not formed on the basis of any complaint. It was formed on the basis of tweets posted tagging the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Ministry of Home Affairs, the counsel argued.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate after hearing the part arguments listed the matter for further arguments on charge on October 19.

Advocate Rajiv Mohan appeared for the BJP MP and argued that on January 18, 2023, the first protest was started at Jantar Mantar and on January 19, one of the wrestlers Babita Phogat met the Union Sports Minister.

He further argued that on January 20, 2023, the Sports Ministry and Home Ministry were tagged. "Till this time no complaint was filed," Advocate Rajiv Mohan said on behalf of Singh.

It was stated that on January 23 oversight committee was formed. "On the basis of the Government of India letter. The report was forwarded to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) New Delhi," he said.

The defence counsel further argued that the Oversight Committee's report is a part of the charge sheet and relies on documents.

Meaning thereby it is a relied-upon document. It was supplied to police in pursuance of notice by police, the counsel argued.

" Till its (oversight committee) formation, there were no written or oral allegations," the counsel argued.

On the point of period of limitation advocate Rajiv Mohan submitted that there is a difference between offence molestation and sexual harassment.

He argued that the wrestlers were well aware of what is sexual harassment and that the offence of sexual harassment is punishable by a period of three years, which is time-barred after three years.

Therefore to suit their case, the allegations of molestation were added to the complaints. The offence of sexual harassment is punishable with imprisonment of five years, he added.

He also pointed out that the Oversight Committee exonerated the coaches against whom allegations were levelled.

Advocate Mohan further argued that the letter is on record, which shows that the Oversight Committee was formed by the GOI.

He submitted that the foundation of the allegations is not based on any complaint.

"Since there was no complaint to the ministry or Sports Authority of India (SAI), therefore the committee proceeded on the basis of tweets," he said.

Even after the formation of the committee no complaint was filed, he added.

It was also submitted that the complainants were summoned their statements were recorded and the proceedings were video recorded. Only two affidavits out of six complainants were filed before the committee.

On the point of breathing pattern checking, the accused's counsel referred to the statement of one of the witnesses who stated she never saw him (accused) touching any girl in an inappropriate manner. "He used to check the pulse rate," the accused's counsel submitted.

"Pulse checking without sexual intent is not an offence," he added.

On the point of alleged incidents at the WFI Office, the BJP MP submitted, "I never called anyone at my WFI office. The complainant came herself to confront me."

As the complainant was not focusing on her game but more on tweets, he added.

Why should I have checked the breathing pattern without occasion? It was not an occasion at my office to check it. If I was intended to molest, then why should I have checked the breathing pattern by touching the stomach," he added.

"There is no mention of a breath test in the affidavit given by a complainant, he added. However, it was mentioned in the complaints," the counsel argued.

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