A Delhi court on Tuesday denied the anticipatory bail application filed by two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar in connection with the Chhatrasal Stadium brawl that led to the death of fellow wrestler, Sagar Dhankar. (More Sports News)
Additional Sessions Judge Jadgish Kumar, who heard the contentions of both the prosecution and defense at length and before reserving the verdict, denied the application. The judge noted that “the allegations against the accused are serious in nature. From the perusal of record of investigation so far, it reveals that prima facie the accused is the main conspirator”.
Further, the judge said “The investigation is still going on and some of the accused persons have not been arrested so far. The NBWS [non-bailable warrant] has already been issued against the accused."
The judge also relied upon the statements of the eye-witnesses while dismissing the plea and said “So at this stage, the Court is not inclined to grant anticipatory bail to the accused”.
Now a wanted criminal, Kumar was a trailblazing wrestler, who single-handedly lifted Indian wrestling to unprecedented heights. His international success triggered a revolution and created an inspirational legacy. But history will remember him for his notoriety too.
The grappler from Najagarh's Baprola village is to date India's only world champion (2010) in the sport. He is also the only one to claim two individual Olympic medals, an exceptional feat for a country that has seen very limited success at the Games.
Besides, the image of Chhatrasal stadium, which has given India its finest wrestlers like Sushil, Yogeshwar, Bajrang and now Tokyo-bound Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, has also taken a beating.
The gravity of the current situation is enormous but Sushil is no stranger to controversy either.
In 2016, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had chosen Narsingh Pancham Yadav to represent India at the Rio Olympic Games. But he later failed a dope test and accused Sushil of having a role in spiking his food. During the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials when Sushil beat Praveen Rana in the final, the supporters of the two camps traded blows outside the stadium.
Fearing arrest, the wrestler had moved the Rohini court in Delhi on May 17 seeking anticipatory bail. The 37-year-old asserted that the probe against him is biased and that no injuries caused are attributable to him.
Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, representing the police, had sought dismissal of the pre-arrest bail plea on grounds that there is electronic evidence against him.
The prosecutor had also asserted that the passport of Kumar, who is on the run, has been confiscated to alert the authorities as there is an apprehension that he may flee the country.
According to Investigating Officer (IO) Inspector Dinesh Kumar, the wrestler's custodial interrogation is required to unearth the chain of conspiracy and recover the weapon of offence from him.
“He is the main accused in the whole incident, who has played a key role in the commission of offence. Data retrieved by FSL experts confirms his active role in commission of crime,” the IO had told the court.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, representing the accused, had told the court that no custodial interrogation of his client is required as all the recoveries, including vehicle, weapon and stick, have been made by the police.
“These people, who I am up against, are criminal-minded people and I will suffer at their hands,” Luthra had said, on the behalf of Kumar.
Rana died, while two of his friends got injured, after they were allegedly assaulted on May 4 night at the Chhatrasal Stadium premises in the national capital.
According to the police, the brawl involved Kumar, Ajay, Prince Dalal, Sonu, Sagar, Amit and others. Dalal, a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, was held in the case.
A case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act at the Model Town Police Station.
Kumar is on the run since Rana's death and the police are making efforts to trace him by conducting raids in the Delhi-NCR region and neighbouring states.
On Monday, the Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on Kumar.
Sushil was handed an A grade contract in December 2018 along with four others for annual financial support of Rs 30 lakh. However, he has not participated in any international event since his first-round defeat in the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.
(With PTI inputs)