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“Allegations Do Not Prove A Person Guilty”: ML Khattar On Haryana Minister

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Reiterating that a mere allegation or registration of an FIR does not make a person guilty, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said today Sandeep Singh, who has been booked in a sexual harassment case, is still a minister holding the charge of printing and stationery department.

Singh gave up his sports portfolio last week after being booked for allegedly sexually harassing a woman coach of the state sports department, saying he has taken the step on moral grounds, and claimed the charges against him were baseless.

During a news conference here, Mr Khattar was asked to comment on the matter pertaining to Singh.

“He is still a minister and holds the charge of printing and stationery department,” the chief minister said.

He said he had not spoken to Singh after the case was lodged, but had sent a message to him that he should look after the work of his exiting department.

Asked that the Opposition’s charge that the government was protecting Sandeep Singh, Mr Khattar said, “Look, if giving any statement is considered protection, then I cannot say anything on this. I had given a statement earlier and I am reiterating that someone levelling allegations and a FIR being registered on that basis do not prove a person guilty.” 

“There is a system to prove one guilty which includes investigation. Police is conducting investigation. They had summoned the complainant and Singh as well. Both have been questioned by Chandigarh police at length. Both have put forth their versions.

“If after these investigations, if any new fact comes to light they will question them again. And if a new fact does not come to fore, then they will tell their analysis publicly..or charge sheet or present matter before court. So, there is a process,” he said.

On Sunday, Singh, a former men’s national hockey team captain and a Olympian, had joined the police investigation into the sexual harassment case against him and again termed the charge levelled by the woman athletics coach “false and baseless”.

He was questioned for nearly seven hours at Sector 26 police station here.

Singh, a first-time MLA, has been booked under IPC Sections 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354 A (sexual harassment), 354 B (compelling her to be naked), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Police later also included IPC section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) in the FIR.

When asked if a fair inquiry in the case is possible with Singh continuing to be a minister, Mr Khattar replied the complainant had said until he remains the sports minister, she will not give any statement and he had given up that department.

“But whether he has to be minister or not, that is not part of that… He is still a minister and holds the charge of printing and stationery department. There is no issue that he can influence as he has given up that department,” he said.

When asked if Sandeep Singh should have resigned as minister on moral grounds, Mr Khattar said, “If a person thinks he has done some mistakes, then moral ground comes into play. But when the man is saying he is not at fault, this is false and baseless…this is his statement and I am not saying so. But even as I say this, tomorrow an issue will come up that the CM is protecting (him).”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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