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Indian Paralympic Gold Medalist Accused of Murder

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Mariyappan Thangavelu's Gold medal jump at Rio. Photo: Reuters

A petition to prosecute India’s Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medal-winning high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu in a murder case has been filed in the Madras High Court in Tamil Nadu.

According to Outlook India, Justice M S Ramesh directed the T42 Paralympian to be included as a respondent after hearing a petition by M Muniyammal.

The Salem-based petitioner claims that after Thangavelu and his associates allegedly assaulted her 19-year-old son M Satish Kumar, he was found dead near a railway track in the district on June 3.

The alleged assault is said to have happened after Kumar accidentally rode his motorcycle into Thangavelu’s new Mahindra car, damaging its door handle.

Muniyammal contends that her son lost control due to bad road conditions and an obstruction, and fell over the car.

Thangavelu and his friends are said to have tried to snatch the mobile phone of Kumar, who reportedly ran after them to get it back.

He was then confirmed as missing after not returning home and was found dead near the railway track the next day.

Muniyammal sought police protection for her and her family following alleged harassment and threats from Thangavelu, two of his associates and unidentified “henchmen.”

She filed the petition after claiming police did not act on her complaint against Thangavelu because he is a celebrity sportsman.

The matter has been adjourned until October 24.

Thangavelu became India’s first Paralympic gold medallist since Athens 2004 by winning top honors in the men’s high jump T42 category at Rio 2016.

He made a winning jump of 1.89 meters in the Brazilian city, with the United States’ Sam Grewe second and fellow Indian Varun Singh Bhati third – both registering jumps of 1.86m.

Thangavelu, who lost his right leg at the age of five when a bus crushed it below the knee, was one of two Indian gold medalists at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, with compatriot Devendra Jhajharia topping the men’s javelin throw F46 podium.

There was also a silver for Deepa Malik, in the women’s shot put F53, and Bhati’s high jump bronze.

India’s most recent Paralympic gold medal prior to Rio 2016 was won by Jhajharia at Athens 2004 in the men’s javelin throw F44/46.

Their only other victory came courtesy of swimmer Murlikant Petkar, winner of the men’s 50m freestyle three event at the 1972 Games in Heidelberg.

Cash rewards were given to all India’s medalists from the Rio 2016 Paralympics as part of the “Awareness Generation and Publicity” scheme.

Thangavelu and Jhajharia were awarded $46,200 each for their gold medals.

By Daniel Etchells

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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