"We haven't backed down from our demand for his arrest," Bajrang Punia said.
The "minor" who was among the seven women wrestlers accusing the Wrestling Federation of India President and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment, changed her statement under pressure, Olympian Sakshee Malikkh told NDTV in an exclusive interview. "There's huge pressure on us to compromise," she said, accusing Mr Sharan of getting his men to call and threaten the complainants.
Elite grapplers Bajrang Punia and Sakshee Malikkh, among the country's top wrestlers leading the protests against Brij Bhushan Singh, claimed the minor's father is under depression because of the pressure put on him to withdraw the complaint.
Ms Malikkh also said they have been demanding the arrest and custodial interrogation of the accused since day one as he has enough power and influence to derail the investigation and intimidate the complainants and witnesses.
"An impartial probe can't be conducted without Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's arrest," she said.
Mr Punia said the 'Mahapanchayat' today decided they would plan future strategy after June 15, the deadline for the investigation given by Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.
"We haven't backed down from our demand for his arrest," he said, adding that they don't trust the police investigation.
"The police yesterday took a woman wrestler to the Wrestling Federation of India office despite Brij Bhushan Singh being present there. The woman asked if Mr Singh was at the office, the police lied and said he wasn't. She got scared when she got to know he was there," Mr Punia said, alleging that the entire system is shielding Brij Bhushan Singh.
"We have risked everything. Brij Bhushan will be arrested if there's a strong chargesheet," the wrestlers said.
The "minor" wrestler was not underage at the time of the event and has recorded a fresh statement in court. In an interview with NDTV, her father said she had changed the age-related bit in her statement. Her complaint of sexual harassment remains as it was.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has earlier denied all allegations of sexual misconduct, and even issued a defiant statement refuting all charges.
"If a single allegation against me is proven, I will hang myself. If you (wrestlers) have any evidence, present it to the Court, and I am ready to accept any punishment," he said.
Earlier today, Jagbir Singh, an international wrestling referee who was present at a wrestling event in Lucknow where a woman wrestler alleged harassment by Brij Bhushan SIngh, told NDTV that the accused in March last year grabbed a woman wrestler "in a place one shouldn't touch a woman". The Delhi Police, which recorded the statements of more than 200 people following allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Singh, recorded the statement of Jagbir Singh on May 20, 2023, in Patiala.
One of the seven women wrestlers on whose complaint First Information Reports, or FIRs, were filed at Delhi's Connaught Place police station last month, has accused Braj Bhushan Singh of molesting her during the photo session after the conclusion of the trial of the Asia Championship (Senior) in Lucknow on March 25, 2022.
The athletes had gathered on the stage for a customary photograph with the federation chief and the head coach when the woman wrestler "suddenly felt a hand on her buttock" which she alleged in the FIR was "highly indecent and objectionable and without her consent". The international referee confirmed he saw Brij Bhushan Singh doing it, after which he said she flinched and walked away angrily, saying she doesn't want the photo to be taken there.