Wrestling Federation of India on Monday suspended referee Virender Malik, who was detained on charges of alleged sexual assault in Glasgow during the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games, with immediate effect.
The president of WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh took the decision to suspend the tainted official but the Federation would wait for details from Scotland police before making his ban permanent.
“The news of Malik’s arrest came yesterday and since it was a Sunday and the office was close, the decision to suspend Malik was taken today (Monday) by the WFI President. The first thing the President did today (Monday) was issue a suspension against Malik with immediate effect,” Assistant secretary of WFI, Vinod Tomar told PTI.
“We are, however, awaiting the investigation report before finalising his suspension. Once we get the report and are satisfied that the charges against him are true, we will suspend him permanently from all national and international tournaments,” he added.
Tomar said that WFI would need to make sure on its part if Malik was actually guilty.
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“We don’t know what happened in Glasgow. We need to make sure that charges against him are all correct before taking any harsh action against him,” he insisted.
The Assistant Secretary said that Malik had been to a number of countries before as a wrestling referee but no such incident has ever been reported.
“Recently also he had been to Slovakia as a referee in a competition but no such incident was reported. If we even had an iota of knowledge about his background, we would not have sent him to any international tournament,” said Tomar.
Besides Malik, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta was also arrested for alleged drunken driving.
Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said that he has communicated the news of Malik’s suspension to FILA.
“We have already suspended Malik and communicated it to FILA (World Wrestling body),” said Brij Bhushan.
“But whatever information we are getting is not complete and we will terminate him only after he is found guilty,” added the President.
He said that it is a blot on country’s reputation and the entire nation is saddened by the incident.
“It is not just WFI but the entire country is saddened by the incident. Not just our wrestlers but other athletes in other disciplines also brought laurels to the country during the Commonwealth Games. But this incident has shocked the nation,” said Brij Bhushan.
Meanwhile, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar said any official was an ambassador of the nation and should maintain his integrity.
“The officials are the ambassadors of the nation and their good behaviour is important. Whenever we are going out of the country, we should keep our integrity,” said Sushil, who won a gold in 74kg freestyle in CWG at Glasgow.
Sushil, however, refused to make any comment on the incident, saying that he was not present there.
“I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened. I know Virender and he is a good person. He has never been involved in any incident like this before. I will ask him and then will be able to tell what happened exactly,” he said.