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Sushil Kumar arrested in connection with murder of 23-year-old wrestler

Sushil Kumar had been on the run since May 5, when an FIR was registered against him. SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Wrestler Sushil Kumar was arrested from Delhi on Sunday in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Sagar Dhankhar, a former junior national wrestling champion, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Following this, Sushil and an associate, Ajay Kumar (who is a PE teacher at Chhatrasal stadium) have been remanded to six days police custody by a Delhi Court.

On May 4, Sagar, who had competed in the 97-kg Greco-Roman category, was beaten to death just outside Delhi's Chhatrasal Stadium in a clash involving two groups. Sushil, a two-time Olympic medallist, had been on the run since May 5, when an FIR was registered against him under IPC sections 302 (murder), 365 (abduction) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) at Model Town police station in Northwest Delhi.

"In the initial probe, it has come out that... Sushil Pehelwan (Kumar) and his aides committed this crime...," the FIR read. Sushil, however, had denied he had anything to do with the incident. "They weren't our wrestlers, it happened late last night. We have informed police officials that some unknown people jumped into our premises and fought. No connection of our stadium with this incident," he told ANI a day after the incident.

On May 18, A Delhi court had rejected the anticipatory bail filed by Sushil, observing that the allegations against the wrestler were serious. Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava, who had announced a cash reward of Rs. 1 lakh for information leading to his arrest, also took out a non-bailable arrest warrant against him from the court.

The report added that an investigation had revealed Kumar had travelled between Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana while trying to avoid being arrested. In addition, Sushil, along with the others said to be involved in the May 4 clash, may have used multiple SIM cards to cover their tracks. According to the police, Sushil left home as soon as news of Sagar's death broke. Investigators have also reportedly picked up a man who is said to have arranged 10 SIM cards for Sushil and his associate Ajay Kumar.

Reacting to the news, boxing star Vijender Singh told PTI, "What he has done for Indian sports is something that can never be taken away from him. That's all I want to say at this point. Let things be clearer. I don't want to comment more."

TT star Achanta Sharath Kamal, meanwhile, said "If this has actually happened, it is unfortunate and reflects badly on Indian sport, not just wrestling. He is one of the best athletes we have had. People look up to him. So if he has done what he has done, it will negatively impact not just wrestlers but athletes from other sports also."

Ajitpal Singh, an Indian Olympic Association observer at the 2008 Olympics, recalled interacting with Sushil at the Games and said he still can't understand what exactly went wrong with the "polite" man.

"...It is very shameful and unfortunate. Being a role model Sushil should have led by example and never indulged in such a brawl. He has got everything in life, the sport gave him everything, money, fame," he said. "I met him during the Beijing Olympics where I was an IOA observer and found him to be a very down to earth and polite guy. But having said that everyone needs to know how to handle fame."