Freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar, a two time Olympic medallist and one of India’s most decorated solo athletes, is currently being held on suspicion of murdering fellow wrestler Sagar Rana. Kumar is accused of leading a gang of men to abduct Rana and beat him to death with sticks at the Chhatrasal Stadium in New Dehli.
The fatal beating is said to have been in response to Rana, a former tenant of Kumar’s, ‘badmouthing’ and disrespecting the popular athlete. After Rana’s death Kumar lead police on a 20 day manhunt before his eventual capture.
According to India Today police in the Delhi-NCR region believe that the 37-year-old Kumar has been tied to criminal activity for quite some time.
Those police sources told that outlet that Kumar began associating with criminal elements when he started a toll booth business. According to the source Kumar looked to secure muscle and people with criminal backgrounds to ensure his booths were profitable and free of harassment.
To aid his business, it is alleged, that Kumar engaged Anil Bhati; the nephew of Sunder Bhati, a notorious gang leader who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.
It is alleged that in 2017 Anil Bhati was involved in the killing of politician Shiv Kumar. During that murder investigation three toll booth workers confessed that they killed Kumar on Bhati’s orders. India Today’s source said that investigators learned about Sushil Kumar’s relationship with Bhati during this investigation, but did not have any evidence to link him to this incident.
Kumar is believed to have closed down his toll booth business after multiple allegations that boys working his booths were taking ransoms, robbing people and even committing murders.
Police allege that, during his time running that business, Kumar also developed relationships with alleged gangsters Vikas Lagarpuriya, Manjit Mahal, Neerja Bawana and Kala Jatheri
Lagarpuriya is accused of at least 16 cases of murder and attempted murder. Mahal was arrested in 2016 after a squad of gunman killed former politician Bharat Singh at a wedding in Najafgarh. Bawana is said to lead a gang that has been involved in bloody turf wars and police shootouts in outer Delhi.
Jatheri, who has been pictured with Kumar and who is accused of leading the infamous Bishnoi gang, is believed to have fled the country shortly after the incident with Kumar and Rana.