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Wrestler murder case: Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, co-accused sent to 6-day police custody

Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and co-accused Ajay Kumar, a physical education teacher, have been arrested for the murder of a 23-year old national wrestling champion.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: May 24, 2021 12:46:28 am
Sushil Kumar (File)

A Delhi court has sent Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and co-accused Ajay Kumar, a physical education teacher, arrested for the murder of a 23-year old national wrestling champion, to six days in police custody.

Stating that the victims were “beaten like wild animals” to create terror, Delhi Police had moved a 12-day police remand application for the two accused. Both Sushil and Ajay were produced physically before Duty Metropolitan Magistrate Divya Malhotra.

Kumar had been on the run since May 5, when an FIR was registered against him under IPC Sections 302 (murder), abduction (365), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) at Model Town police station. On May 4, Sagar Dhankhar, who had competed in the 97-kg category (Greco-Roman style), was beaten to death following a clash between two groups.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava told the court that both the accused persons and the victim were wrestlers who won medals for the country and “we have rule of law, everyone is equal before it.”

Srivastava told the court that “the CCTV footage was dismantled. This has to be recovered. The motive behind commission of this offence also has to be seen. They had beaten them like wild animals. The clothes which he was wearing also had to be recovered,” adding, “objective was to create terror in the entire area also.”

The police told the court that they needed the custody of the accused to “unearth the whole conspiracy.” The APP argued that the accused persons took the help of a criminal gang, and around a dozen persons on the run have previous criminal records like murder, attempt to murder etc.

“No one is above law and law treats everyone equally. Our Constitution guarantees the right to life and liberty to all persons subject to just expectations. The importance of initial days of investigation for unearthing the truth need not be over emphasized. A fair and proper investigation is sine qua non for arriving at truth and meeting the ends of justice,” the court said.

The court was told that of the five victims in this case, three were brought from Model Town and other two from Shalimar Bagh to Chhatrasal stadium and “they were beaten.”

“There is a one minute video clip where one accused Sushil and co-accused were beating other persons. The five persons were brought by the accused from Model Town and Shalimar Bagh… brought in different cars. He was originally given the job by GOI considering his ability in wrestling. He was officer in charge in Chhatrasal stadium,” the APP told the court.

“We have to unearth the specific role of dozens of persons. He had taken the help of one gang who included a man of criminal antecedents. He (Sushil) had hidden somewhere in Punjab or Haryana. We have to take him there,” the APP told the court.

The APP argued that they needed 12-day custody for recreation of the crime scene. The court was told that due to Covid-19, they could not complete this process much faster and Sushil had to be taken to multiple states where he had hid.

Sushil was represented by advocate Balbir Jakhar and Satwik Mishra.

Advocate Balbir Jakhar opposed the police remand and told the court that the recovery can be made in a single day. Singh stated that the police has already made recoveries in the matter.

“They have recovered danda as well as the car. Why do they want 12 days police custody remand? Only because he is Sushil Kumar. Have they sought 12 days pc remand in any other case?,” Jakhar told the court.

The APP argued that the “burden of proof was on the prosecution. We can investigate if we get 15 days. He said that he (Sushil) has been cooperating. Despite a non-bailable warrant (NBW) he has not come. He did not surrender, he was arrested by the police.”

The court said it is “duty bound to strike a balance between the fairness of investigation as well as the rights of the accused.”  “While the liberty of the accused is not be be curtailed unnecessary, at the same time it is also to be seen that the investigation is not hampered and that crucial evidence is not lost,” the court said.

A Delhi court had on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail filed by Kumar and observed that the allegations against the champion wrestler in a murder case are serious.

Kumar’s lawyers had argued before the court that the investigation against him was biased and the allegations have been made to harm his reputation.

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