Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh has been booked on charges of sexual harassment and wrongful confinement at the complaint of a woman coach, police here said on Sunday.
The FIR against the 36-year-old BJP leader, who is also a former Indian hockey team captain and a first-time MLA, was registered on Saturday, they said.
The minister, however, has dismissed the accusations as baseless and has called for an independent probe.
“In the matter of complaint made by a lady coach of Haryana against Sports Minister Haryana, a case FIR dated 31.12.2022 under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 342, 506 of the IPC has been registered at Police Station Sector 26, Chandigarh and is being investigated,” a police spokesperson said.
A junior athletics coach from the state had on Thursday come up with allegations of sexual harassment against the minister and filed a police complaint a day later.
The Olympian has been booked under IPC Section 354 which pertains to assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 354 A (sexual harassment), 354 B (compelling her to be naked), 342 (wrongful confinement), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
After receiving a complaint from the woman coach, Chandigarh Police had earlier said an inquiry will be conducted into the allegations against the minister.
The woman had told reporters on Friday: “I have given a complaint to SSP madam (Senior Superintendent of Police) here. I am hopeful that I will get justice and the Chandigarh Police will investigate my complaint.” She has alleged that Sandeep Singh had first seen her at a gym and then contacted her on Instagram.
The coach claimed that the MLA from Pehowa in Kurukshetra kept insisting that they meet. “He messaged me on Instagram and said my national games certificate is pending and wanted to meet in this regard.” “Unfortunately, my certificate has been misplaced by my federation and I have been taking it up with the authorities concerned,” the woman had said.
She, according to her complaint, agreed to meet Sandeep Singh at his residence-cum-camp office here with some other documents she had. When she went there, the minister molested her, she said.
“He … took me to a side cabin of his residence... placed my documents on the side table and placed his hand on my foot. He said when he saw me for the first time, he liked me... He said you keep me happy and I will keep you happy,” the woman alleged.
“I removed his hand … he even tore my T-shirt. I was crying and I raised an alarm for help and though all his staff was there, no one helped me,” she had alleged.
Asked about the allegations, Sandeep Singh had on Thursday called them baseless and called for an independent probe. “I want an independent probe. We will also get it probed because my image has been tarnished.” The minister also said that all details of the woman’s entire life should be looked into.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had earlier demanded an impartial inquiry into the allegations, while the Indian National Lok Dal asked the Manohar Lal Khattar government to immediately sack Sandeep Singh and set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the matter.