New Delhi: Wrestler Sushil Kumar who has been absconding for over two weeks now, may be hiding in the outskirts of Delhi, ThePrint has learnt.
The two-time Olympic medallist is wanted in connection with the murder of former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Rana, 23, who was killed at the Chhatrasal stadium in Delhi on 4 May.
Kumar, who has been on the run since, has been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 365 (abduction) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to police, the champion wrestler spent the first two days on the run, 5 and 6 May, at an ashram in Haridwar.
“Sushil Kumar left Delhi and went to Haridwar where he lived in an ashram from 5 May morning until 6 May night,” a senior police officer said. “Kumar’s phone was switched off completely on 6 May morning. Before switching off the phone, he only made calls through WhatsApp.”
The officer also said that Kumar has been accompanied by a close aide, who belongs to Sonepat in Haryana.
“Bhura, a close aide of Sushil Kumar, drove the wrestler to the Haridwar ashram. Bhura has been his driver for the last 8-10 years,” the officer added.
According to the police, the wrestler has been changing locations and has around six to seven hideouts in and around the national capital region.
“Kumar was living at a Yoga Guru’s ashram in Haridwar. After he returned, he had been living in and around the Haryana-Delhi border. We are conducting raids in the NCR region, and neighbouring states to nab him,” another senior police officer said .
When contacted, asking who’s ashram it was, DCP North West Usha Rangrani refused to comment on the matter.
The police had earlier conducted raids at Kumar’s parental house in Baprola in Delhi’s Najafgarh, the Chhatrasal official accommodation that was given to the wrestler and also in Rohini where his in-laws live.
The Delhi Police Monday also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to the arrest of Sushil Kumar. Last week, a non-bailable warrant was issued against the athlete.
Gangster aide, technologically sound & pehelwan fan base
The Delhi Police listed three reasons for the wrestler evading arrest so far — technologically sound, gangster aides and a huge fan base.
“Sushil Kumar is aided by gangsters and is very technically sound. Even when his phone was on, he would switch on and off and manage WhatsApp calls in between,” the first police officer said. “He knows exactly how to use technology to not get caught. He is quite a professional in this case.
“Moreover Kumar has links with many gangsters. They are helping him stay off the grid,” the officer added.
The officer further stated that Kumar’s fan following in this region has helped him give police the slip. “Sushil Kumar as an international wrestler enjoys a huge fan base in Delhi-NCR, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” the officer said. “Most pehelwans (wrestlers) in the region consider him a guru and are his chelas (disciples). They have been helping him switch locations with new hideouts.
“The pehelwan fraternity here is very dedicated to Sushil Kumar. They don’t want to let out any information on his whereabouts,” the police officer said.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)