By LE Desk

New Delhi, June 9, 2021: A local court has ordered both Delhi and the Haryana police to provide round the clock protection to all the four witnesses in the wrestler Sagar Dhankhar murder case, in which Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is one of the accused.

A committee headed by Swarn Kanta Sharma, principal and sessions judge, Rohini district court, on Monday directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), northwest Delhi and Haryana police to provide security to the witnesses and install cameras, alarms and fencing outside their homes, the Hindustan Times reported.

The committee passed the order after analysing a police report which said that the threat perception to the witnesses in the case is “real”.

“The analysis report clearly indicates that the threat perception to the witnesses is real. Considering the same, DCP northwest has already provided interim protection to the witnesses who are residing in Delhi and also sent letters to SSP, Sonepat, Hansi (Hisar), Jhajjar and Rohtak — all in Haryana — to provide adequate interim protection to the victims/witnesses in their respective districts with immediate effect,” the committee noted in the minutes of the meeting.

The committee, in accordance with the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018, passed the order of protection after the Delhi high court, on June 2, asked the State to file an application before the competent authority for protection of the witness within one week.

The high court said that the competent authority will take a decision within one week of filing of the application and till a decision is taken, Delhi Police will provide interim protection to the witness.

Following this, the police moved to the committee seeking an application to provide protection.

Advocate Ajay Kumar Pipaniya, appearing for all the four witnesses, said his clients have been scared even to share their addresses with the police in the wake of the threat. Pipania said police’s threat analysis report also said that wrestler Sushil Kumar may use his money and clout to influence the witnesses.

Taking note of the threat report and the counsel’s submission, the committee ordered that all steps will be taken to protect the witnesses, while also asking the police to submit a fortnightly report. It also asked the police to undertake regular checks around the house of the witnesses, the Hindustan Times reported.

Sushil Kumar and his associates allegedly assaulted Sagar Dhankhar, and two of his friends Sonu Mahal and Amit Kumar, at the Chhatrasal stadium on May 4 over an alleged property dispute. Dhankhar, 23, succumbed to the injuries later.

Sushil was arrested on May 23. The court initially remanded him to six days of police custody, which was later extended by four more days on May 29. On June 2, he was sent to judicial custody.

One of the witness, who was one of the persons allegedly beaten up by Sushil, has claimed that he fears for his life as “the Olympian has links with hardened criminals”.

Advocate Pipaniya told the court that his client’s parents were being influenced and threatened continuously by goons not to give any statement or testimony against the wrestler.

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