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Two-time Olympic medallist is now a fugitive? Sushil Kumar's future in question

Wrestler Sushil Kumar has been absconding since Sagar Rana was beaten up to death. Controversies keep on chasing Sushil, but will this be his fall?

Sushil Kumar Sagar Rana Non-Bailable warrant Delhi Police

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and now a non-bailable warrant issued against Sushil Kumar


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 12 May 2021 1:10 AM GMT

Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is still one of the prime accused of allegedly beating up former junior national champion Sagar Rana to death, has been absconding since May 4. The other victims involved in the clash recorded their statements before Delhi Police and claimed that Sushil was involved in the incident.

Delhi Police questioned two wrestlers and identified two others who were present when 23-year-old wrestler Sagar Rana was killed at Chhatrasal Stadium on Tuesday. The two wrestlers interrogated on Saturday have been identified as Bhagtu and Ravinder.

Additional DCP (North-West district) Dr Guriqbal Singh Sidhu told The Indian Express, "We have recorded statements of all the victims and they all made allegations against Sushil Kumar. We have lodged an FIR of murder, abduction, criminal conspiracy and are conducting raids to nab Sushil Kumar."

The victims have also alleged that Kumar and his associates abducted Sagar from his house in Model Town to teach him a lesson for bad-mouthing him in front of other wrestlers, police said.

Raids are being conducted by the Delhi Police on the outskirts of Delhi, Uttarakhand, and Haryana to nab Kumar. The Delhi Police on Monday issued a look-out notice against Sushil Kumar.

According to the police, the brawl took place between Kumar, Ajay, Prince, Sonu, Sagar, Amit, and others in the parking area. Thereafter, police registered the case under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act at the Model Town Police Station. Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar, who has been named in the FIR in this case, is absconding and efforts are on to trace him.

"It was not a case of trespassing. The accused took the victims inside the stadium where they assaulted them in the parking area. Kumar was present at the spot when the incident happened, however, police are investigating his role in the assault," an official source told PTI.

Meanwhile, Raids are being conducted by the Delhi Police on the outskirts of Delhi, Uttarakhand and Haryana to nab Kumar, who is absconding.

The case of Sagar Rana

Sagar was beaten to death outside the Chhatrasal Stadium, which houses the training centre run by Sushil's father-in-law, Satpal Singh. After conducting a preliminary investigation and collection of evidence, the police are now looking at the possibility of premeditated murder. It was found that Sagar and his friends were staying in a house reportedly owned by Sushil near the stadium. They were asked to vacate which led to an altercation and it turned out to be violent when Sushil's group of men accosted Sagar and his friends Sonu Mahal and Amit Kumar.

They were allegedly beaten up by around 20 men with hockey sticks and baseball bats. While Sagar succumbed to his injuries, Sonu and Amit remain hospitalised. The Delhi Police have arrested wrestler Prince Dalal for his alleged involvement and attempts are raiding places to trace Sushil. Police also recovered a video clip recovered from the phone of accused Prince Dalal, which shows Kumar Beating up people. The Police said they have sought help from the forensic team to enlarge the faces seen in the video to establish the identity of the people involved in the brawl, in which Rana was killed. The phone video remains the only graphic evidence of the brawl.

Is this going to be the final fall of Sushil Kumar?

Sushil Kumar's reputation as one of the greatest Olympians in the country is now being on the wire of getting tarnished. Sushil, who has been on and off controversies from time to time has now found himself embroiled in a case of murder. Of course, the case has to be investigated and his involvement needs to be proved in court. He remains innocent until proven guilty. But with him being absconding like a fugitive, questions are being raised over the man who has set benchmarks and is revered as an idol by generations of wrestlers.

In the murder case of Sagar, the arrested perpetrators, Dalal and Sonu, have gangster connections, police have been quoted as saying. In fact, the investigators are reportedly looking into a gang rivalry angle too.

While Sushil was slowly starting to struggle with his wrestling form on the mat, he had struck business opportunities outside the mat. Reports suggest, Sushil had earned the contracts to run all the toll plazas on major highways in and around Delhi, which he allegedly earned using the help of prominent gangsters.

Earlier, his name also cropped up when another wrestler, Praveen Rana, was attacked by a group of men following a wrestling trial between Sushil and Rana in 2017. The previous year, in 2016, Narsingh Yadav, the selected India qualifier for the 2016 Rio Games, tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for four years. The wrestler from Maharashtra, who was engaged in a court battle with Sushil regarding selection trials, suggested there was foul play and his food or water was possibly spiked with the performance enhancers by someone close to Sushil. It was never proven and at the time Sushil had enough goodwill and clout to get out of the episode relatively unscathed.

Sushil was also the president of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI), even after Sports Ministry had revoked official recognition of the organization between his two tenures; citing mismanagement and corruption. It was reported that the SGFI, who did not have the approval from the Indian government to send an Indian team abroad for Pacific School Games in 2017, had taken money from the players as a participation fee.

Sushil has been hiding from the spectrum of legal ramifications today. Perhaps he might not be involved in the murder case of Sagar. But he has to take the onus of coming clean or the glory he attained in sports would be left in shambles.

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