During the opening of his trial on Tuesday, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the former wrestling federation chief in India, pleaded not guilty to the alleged sexual harassment of female athletes. The accused, who is also a lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party, refuted the claims of groping female athletes and making demands of sexual favors from them.

Singh, 67, was charged last June with accusations of sexually harassing and stalking women wrestlers. Several top Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, led a vocal protest campaign calling for his removal after the allegations surfaced last January. The demonstrations, which lasted for weeks, garnered significant attention.

Amidst the uproar, notable sports personalities like Neeraj Chopra and Abhinav Bindra stood in solidarity with the athletes. Singh, who was denied a ticket by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, is not contesting a seat in the ongoing elections; instead, his son is running for the position.