With Opposition demanding ouster of his minister, Sandeep Singh, over the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by a woman coach, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, on Tuesday, that a person does not become guilty just because an allegation is levelled against him.
“A woman sportsperson has levelled an absurd allegation against the sports minister. But just levelling an allegation does not make a person guilty. The Chandigarh Police is investigating the matter and the Haryana Police too are gathering reports. We will take further action once the (inquiry) report comes,” Khattar said in Rajasthan’s Sirohi where he had gone to attend an event of the Brahma Kumaris.
“Being a minister in the Sports Department, an issue might have been raised that an impartial inquiry is not taking place. Therefore, he will not remain sports minister, he has been removed from there so that a proper and fair inquiry takes place,” he added.
Singh, the former India hockey captain, gave up his sports portfolio on Sunday on moral grounds claiming that the allegations against him are baseless. He handed over the charge of the sports department to the CM but he has not resigned from the BJP-led Haryana ministry as minister of state and continues to hold the other portfolio under his independent charge, printing and stationery.
This was after Chandigarh police on Saturday registered a first information report (FIR) against the 36-year-old BJP leader. The Haryana Director General of Police set up a committee after Singh lodged a complaint against the coach, claiming she had tarnished his image.
A ‘khap panchayat’ on Monday threatened to launch an agitation if Singh is not sacked. Meanwhile, the woman athletics coach who raised sexual harassment allegations against Haryana minister Sandeep Singh appeared before a special investigation team (SIT), constituted to probe the case, at Chandigarh’s Sector 26 police station Tuesday, police said.
An FIR against Singh was registered at the Sector 26 police station Saturday night on charges of stalking, illegal confinement, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.
In the FIR, the woman athlete accused Singh of trying to kiss her, tugging at her T-shirt, which tore in the process and attempting to rape her. The athlete has also alleged that Singh kept threatening her after the incident on 1 July 2022, and that when she didn’t give in to his advances, she was transferred to Jhajjar from Panchkula.