New Delhi: A day after he was suspended by the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on charges of sexual harassment, SAI coach Ramesh Malhotra said that he was innocent and was deeply hurt by the allegations levelled against him.
“I am innocent and have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Malhotra also alleged that he was being framed by Karnam Malleswari, former India weightlifter who has levelled the charges against him.
Earlier, Malhotra, who was recommended by the IWF for Dronacharya Award for the last two years, was relieved of his job at the Bangalore SAI Centre with immediate effect.
“We have suspended Malhotra with immediate effect and has relieved him for his coaching job with Commonwealth core group weightlifters at Bangalore SAI Centre,” IWF Secretary General Sahdev Yadav told reporters.
Malleswari had alleged that a SAI coach, who has also been recommended for Dronacharya award, has been sexually harassing junior lifters for more than a decade now.
Yadav said a three-member committee to be headed by IWF vice-president Kumbasi Subramanya with veteran coach Pal Singh Sandhu and IWF joint secretary Madan Lal Salvi as other members, will submit a report within seven days after probing the matter.
He said the allegations levelled by Malleswari, also an IWF vice-president, were not related to the present executive committee which took over in December last year.
“The allegations might have related to incidents happened earlier. We took charge only in December last year and we don’t have any complaint by anybody, including lifters, about sexual harassment by any coach or officials,” Yadav said.
“But we don’t want to ignore anything so we have decided to suspend Malhotra and constitute a three-member committee to look into the allegations,” added Yadav, who was the treasurer in the earlier executive committee.
The federation also denied that Malleswari raised the sexual harassment issue during the executive committee meeting held in Udaipur in February before the National Senior Championships.
“No grievance or objection from any executive committee member had been received in the executive committee meeting (in Udaipur),” it said.
The committee though is unlikely to call Malleswari to present his case before the committee.
“It is upto the committee to decide. But the committee will look into past records whether there have been complaints of sexual harassment made by anybody, including players, against coaches or officials,” Yadav said.