On May 23, a district court in Delhi remanded two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to 6 days of police custody. Kumar was produced before the district immediately after his arrest, which as per the Delhi Police he was evading for 3 weeks.
Sushil Kumar and his associates are named in the FIR lodged for the murder of former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Dhankhar at Delhi’s Chhatrasal stadium.
While remanding him to police custody, the Additional Sessions Judge Jagdish Kumar said that, prima facie, Sushil Kumar is the “main conspirator in the case”. The court further said:
"In the present case the allegations against the applicant accused are serious in nature. From the perusal of record of investigation so far, it reveals that prima facie the applicant/accused is the main conspirator and FIR is not an encyclopedia. The investigation is still going on and some of the accused persons have not been arrested so far. " - ASJ Jagdish Kumar
Earlier a district court in Rohini had refused to grant anticipatory bail to Sushil Kumar, calling him prima facie “main conspirator” in the murder case.
What's Next For Sushil Kumar?
Currently, Delhi Police has received only 6 days to interrogate Sushil Kumar. As per law, they can ask for an extension of 8 more days of police custody.
After the completion of 6 days, the court can extend the police custody for 8 more days, or remand Sushil Kumar to judicial custody, or simply release him.
So far, the primary evidence against Kumar is the video recording and the recovered “danda” which is being termed as the murder weapon in this case. The defence’s strategy during the remand or bail proceedings could involve discrediting the veracity of this evidence. They can call such evidence “fabricated”, “planted”, “not related to Kumar”, or “doesn’t prove his culpability”.
The state, on the other hand, is planning to transfer the investigation to the Crime Branch and take Sushil Kumar to “various States” for the purpose of the interrogation.
The Criminal Case
Sushil Kumar is the prime accused in the murder of a former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Dhankhar at Delhi’s Chhatrasal Stadium. Delhi Police informed the media that Kumar had made a video of the incident to “terrorise the wrestling circuit in the city”.
"Sushil had asked (his friend) Prince to make that video. He and his associates thrashed the victims like animals. He wanted to establish his fear in the wrestling community" - Delhi Police
As per the Delhi Police, Sushil Kumar was on the run for 20 days before he was nabbed in Delhi’s Mundka area on Sunday, 24 May. Even a reward of Rs 1 lakh was announced for anyone who could give information about Kumar’s whereabouts.
The FIR lodged against Sushil Kumar and his associates have invoked the following sections under the Indian Penal Code:
Section 302: Punishment for murder
Section 308: Attempt to commit culpable homicide
Section 365: Kidnapping or abducting with an intention to keep in confinement
Section 325: Voluntarily causing grievous hurt
Section 323: Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt
Section 341: Punishment for wrongful restraint
Section 506: Punishment for criminal intimidation
If proven guilty for murder, Sushil Kumar can face imprisonment for life, or even death penalty.
On May 24, a senior police official from the Delhi Police informed the media that the murder and other charges against Sushil Kumar and his associate Ajay will be investigated by the Crime Branch.
During the remand proceedings, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava sought 12-day police custody. He argued that the police still needs to recover some CCTV footages, the alleged weapon used for committing the offences and also the mobile phones.
Prosecutor had further informed the court that the police will be taking Kumar to multiple states for the purpose of interrogation.
Arguing in defence of Sushil Kumar, Advocate Satwik Mishra submitted that the police cannot ask for Kumar’s custody for the purpose of identification of other accused persons when he has stated that he has been falsely implicated in the case.
Citing the autopsy report submitted by the Delhi Police before the court during Sushil Kumar’s anticipatory bail matter, Mishra further contended that the police is “improvising its own theory” to keep Kumar in jail.
"According to the status report filed by the Police in Sushil Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea, it has been stated that the autopsy report revealed the the cause of death to be “Cerebral Damage due to Dande ki pitaayi”. Now, the Police is improvising their theory as they have already recovered the “danda” and the car, which according to the defense did not belong to Sushil Kumar. " - Satwik Mishra
Rejecting the “absconding allegation” of the prosecution, Mishra contended before the court that Suhil Kumar “chose to go behind the curtain” to avail the remedies in law which are also his fundamental rights.
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