Probe Points to Gang Links in Sushil Kumar Chhatrasal Murder Case

On World Wrestling Day, India woke up to arrest of Sushil Kumar – the decorated Olympian, who had been on the run.

3 min read
On World Wrestling Day, 23 May, India woke up to the news of the arrest of Sushil Kumar – the decorated Olympian, who had up until then been on the run for 20 days.

On World Wrestling Day, 23 May, India woke up to the news of the arrest of Sushil Kumar – the decorated Olympian, who had been on the run for 20 days. Arrested on charges of murder of wrestler Sagar Dhankar, the incident has opened a can of worms for Kumar as initial police investigations revealed his possible links to wanted gangsters.

Three cars found at the site of the incident, which have raised questions on the involvement of gangster Neeraj Bawana’s camp, Dhankar’s friend Sonu Mahal, who was also involved in the fight and was hospitalised after the fight, is said to be related to notorious gangster – Kala Jathedi, alias Sandeep Kalia, said to be hiding in Dubai.

The brawl at the Chhatrasal Stadium, which houses the training centre run by Kumar’s father-in-law, Satpal Singh, has not only brought to the fore his possible links with gangsters but also added to the conversation regarding an ugly nexus between wrestlers and criminals.

While that leads the probe towards one gang, another of the victims of the assault on 4 May at Chhatrasal is known to have a criminal record. Dhankar’s friend Sonu Mahal, apart from being related to notorious gangster – Kala Jathedi, alias Sandeep Kalia, said to be hiding in Dubai, has multiple cases registered against his name.


The Bawana Gang Link

The Delhi Police that believes the attack on 23-year-old Dhankar was premeditated, picked up their lead from an SUV at the stadium and found it was connected to one of Bawana’s henchmen. Bawana is currently lodged in Tihar Jail. The police had reached the location after getting a call around 2 am, informing them about the violence.

From their initial investigation at the spot where the police seized three cars, a 12-bore semi-automatic shotgun and some cartridges.

According to a Times of India report, the police claim that Sushil, after the scuffle, fled with more of Bawana’s men, who had accompanied Sushil on the night.

On 26 May, the Delhi Police arrested four of Sushil’s aides Bhupender (38 years), Mohit (22 years), Gulab (24 years), and Manjeet (29 years) and confirmed that they were active members of the Bawana gang, who had been present at Chhatrasal during the brawl.

Sushil is understood to had become friendly with Bawana and his gang after a fallout with Jathedi over a property in Model Town. The wrestler is said to have been trying to avoid not only the police but Jathedi as well.

Bawana, who stepped into the world of crime in 2004, has always been embroiled in one-upmanship with Jathedi.


What is the Jathedi Link?

While Dhankar, unfortunately, lost his life in the aftermath of the incident, another wrestler Mahal – the nephew of Jathedi, who was injured in the scuffle at the stadium, has 19 cases of murder, extortion and robbery registered against him.

Jathedi, who reportedly was eyeing control of toll tax booths in Delhi, UP, and Haryana, had earlier sought Sushil Kumar's help. The TOI report, citing police sources, further claims that Jathedi was involved in large-scale grabbing of disputed properties in Delhi through Mahal and others.

Kumar had reportedly joined hands with Jathedi and landed property in Delhi’s Model Town, and it is friction about the same that sparked off the clash between Dhankar and Mahal.

Kumar’s name had also cropped up in an extortion case, in which the probe suggests that he was behind a ransom call that had been made from an international number. The incident is said to be from Model Town. According to the report, Jathedi demanded Rs 1 crore as protection money from a cable businessman.


More Aid for Sushil Kumar Before Arrest

The wrestler, who turns 38 on 26 May, had been avoiding arrest with the help of various criminals said the Delhi Police, according to The Print.

“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. He knows exactly how to use technology to not get caught. He is quite a professional. Moreover, Kumar has links with many gangsters. They are helping him stay off the grid,” an officer had said.

“The pehelwan fraternity here is very dedicated to Sushil Kumar. They don’t want to let out any information on his whereabouts,” he had added.

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