NEW DELHI: Wrestling Federation of India‘s (WFI) joint secretary, Chandra Pratap Singh, on Tuesday objected to his name being dragged into the death of young Indian wrestler, Ritika Badola – the cousin of the celebrated Phogat sisters – and refuted allegations levelled against him by Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s (RLP) MP from Rajasthan’s Nagaur that he, along with other organisers of the state-level junior/sub junior wrestling meet, played a role in changing the results of Ritika’s title bout. Beniwal had recently demanded an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged death by suicide of Ritika in the Lok Sabha during the zero hour. During his speech, Beniwal had alleged that district sports officer Satya Prakash, Ravindra Pahalwan and CP Singh were involved in overturning the results of Ritika’s bout by declaring her a runner-up after she was being announced the winner.
Ritika had allegedly died by suicide in Haryana’s Balali village (Charkhi Dadri district) on the night of March 15. According to Haryana Police, Ritika hanged herself from a ceiling fan at the house of her uncle, Dronacharya awardee Mahavir Phogat, as the 17-year-old was apparently upset over losing the final of the junior meet by one point to a Bhilwara grappler. The championship was played at the Lohagarh Stadium in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district from March 12 to 14. Ritika belonged from the Jaitpur village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district. She was, however, staying with her uncle Mahavir in Balali and training under him for the last four years.
“It was shocking to see a forwarded message on whatsapp of Nagaur’s Lok Sabha MP Hanuman Beniwal alleging me for the root cause of the step taken by an upcoming wrestler (Ritika) of Rajasthan. Although it’s very depressing news for any sports association across India, still I can’t relate to the fact how my name was taken for the same. My tenure as the Rajasthan wrestling association’s president ended on March 12, 2020 after the fresh elections of the association were conducted on the same day in Sikar (Khatu Shyaamji). Our governing bodies, WFI and Rajasthan State Sports Council Jaipur and Rajasthan State Olympic Association, were well informed in advance about the elections,” CP Singh informed in a statement.
“Mr Beniwal stated that after the decision was made regarding the winner of that controversial bout, I interfered in the matter and by pressuring/influencing the Jury managed to get the decision changed. It led to the announcement being made that runner-up Maya Mali declared the winner of the bout. This sounds even more disturbing that on the dates of this tournament (March 12 to 14), I was busy attending a family marriage in Jaipur. I don’t know whether this happened by mistake or done intentionally… but statements made by such position holders sitting in such prestigious government institutions should be well confirmed before delivering,” he added.