Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh booked for sexually harassing woman coach, steps down
Chandigarh, January 1, 2023
Haryana Sports Minister and Olympian Sandeep Singh on Sunday stepped down after being booked by Chandigarh Police for allegedly sexually harassing a junior athletics coach.
He said he handed over his Sports portfolio to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. However, he has not resigned from the Cabinet.
Sandeep Singh, a former captain of the Indian national hockey team, has rubbished the charges as "politically motivated".
"I hope there will be a thorough investigation into the false allegations levelled against me. I hand over the responsibility of the Sports department to the CM until the report of the investigation comes out," he told the media here.
The first information report (FIR) against the 36-year-old minister, a first-time MLA, was registered on Saturday.
Acting on the complaint, an FIR under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered. The case is being investigated at the Sector 26 police station here.
The coach from Haryana on Thursday levelled allegations of sexual harassment against the minister and filed a police complaint a day later.
The woman, who participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics, was recruited as a junior coach in the Sports Department in September.
In her complaint, she alleged Sandeep Singh sent her messages on Instagram and Snapchat.
"On July 1, he made a Snapchat call and asked me to visit his residence in Sector 7, Chandigarh, for verification of documents. Around 6.50 p.m., he called me to his office and molested me. My T-shirt was torn. I managed to push him aside and ran out of the room as the door was unlocked," she alleged.
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has demanded an impartial inquiry into the allegations levelled by the woman, whereas the Indian National Lok Dal has demanded that the government sack Sandeep Singh.
Meanwhile, the state government has set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to investigate the matter.