Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been asked to step aside from his post for four weeks by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on Friday, following allegations of sexual exploitation and intimidation by the country’s top wrestlers.

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur met with the wrestlers in New Delhi. Subsequently, the ministry announced through a statement, that a committee will be formed to enquire into the allegations, and while the investigation will go on, Singh will be asked to step down.

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“An Oversight Committee will be set up by the Ministry for the Wrestling Federation of India,” read the statement.

“The Committee will enquire into the allegations made by prominent sportspersons of Sexual Misconduct, Financial Irregularities and Administrative lapses; Undertake day-to-day administration of the WFI; Revisit the issues raised by players.

“The Oversight Committee will complete the enquiry in 4 weeks and till then, WFI president will step aside from the day-to-day functioning and he has assured to cooperate in the investigation.”

On Wednesday, the biggest wrestlers in the country – such as, but not limited to, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshee Malikkh – lodged a protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to highlight the misdemeanours they alleged against Singh, and called for the Wrestling Federation of India president to be removed from his post with immediate effect.

Phogat highlighted Singh’s sexual harassment of women’s wrestlers.

“I know at least 10-20 women wrestlers who have told me about the sexual exploitation they faced at the hands of the WFI president,” she said at a press conference.

The wrestlers wrote a letter to the Indian Olympic Association as well, asking for the body to set up a committee to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against Singh, his resignation, the dissolving of the Wrestling Federation of India, and a committee to be formed to look after the affairs of the sports federation.

Additionally, reacting to the letter sent to them by the wrestlers, the Indian Olympic Association will also set up a committee to investigate the allegations.

The IOA Executive Council – which included International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission Member and Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra – met virtually on Friday before announcing the creation of the committee.

“The EC unanimously decided that a Committee will be formed in accordance with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women Act of 2013 and must hear both sides and submit a report to the IOA President. Instructions have been given to committee to meet at the earliest,” read a statement issued by the Indian Olympic Association.

The committee includes, but is not limited to, London Olympics bronze medallist and six-time World Champion boxer MC Mary Kom, Commonwealth Games gold medallist-archer Dola Banerjee, and London Olympic bronze medal-winning wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.

The Times of India reported that the wrestlers have called off their protest following the statements by the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association.