Hockey player Birender Lakra accused of participating in the murder of a friend

Indian senior hockey player Birendra Lakra was accused on Tuesday of taking part in the murder of his childhood friend, Anand Toppo, by the father of the deceased. Lakra’s friend was found dead in his apartment in Bhubaneswar in February this year and the father of the deceased, Bandhan, has accused state police of protecting the hockey player since he was DSP at one time. given.

Bandhan said he had trouble filing an FIR for the past four months, but state police did not help him, forcing him to go public with his charges. Lakra, 32, was part of India’s bronze medal-winning team at the Tokyo Games and also led the national team to the Asian Cup, where the team won a bronze medal.

“We and Birendra were next door neighbours, so naturally Anand was his childhood friend. On February 28, we received a call from Birendra that Anand is unconscious and is taking him to hospital. Later he informed us that Anand was no more,” Bandhan Toppo told PTI. “We asked him what happened but he just told us to come to Bhubaneswar. the next day and we were taken to the local police station where the officer told us that Anand had committed suicide, but there was no suicide note.

“We were shown Anand’s body after much insistence and at first glance I saw hand marks on his neck. But the autopsy report said it was ‘a suicide,” Bandhan said. In recent history, Lakra is the second sportsman to be charged with murder. Star wrestler Sushil Kumar is already in Tihar prison for the murder of fellow wrestler Sagar Dhankar, who was a junior national champion.

Anand was reportedly found dead in Ayush Radium Apartment No. 401 in Infocity, Patia, which is owned by Lakra, around 10am. While reports claimed that only Birendra Lakra and a girl named Manjeet Tete were present in the flat at the time, the victim father begged to hold off. “There were four people in the apartment when my son was murdered. A third person was also there who is now protected,” he claimed.

“I tried to file an FIR at the local police station but they didn’t entertain me saying it was a suicide. Then after a few days I went to the DCP office and filed a complaint, but after waiting four months for any action, we finally decided to go to the media,” the grieving father said.
“I want justice for my son. I don’t trust Odisha Police as they are trying to save Lakra because he is a big man and one of them. I want an independent investigation into my son’s mysterious death. Sources say the incident was a fall out of a love triangle even though Lakra, who plays as a defender, and Anand were married.

“Anand died just 12 days after his wedding. He got married on February 16 and died on the 28th. He was happy with his marriage,” Bandhan said. When asked if Anand had a relationship with Manjeet, Bandhan did not give a clear answer. “I don’t know of any such thing. But they were studying together in Bhubaneswar. If something happened after that, I don’t know. Anand never told us anything about him,” he said.
Repeated calls to Lakra went unanswered.

It has been learned that he is currently in the national camp in Bangalore under former India captain Sardar Singh and may be asked to leave the national camp following the controversy. In addition to Olympic bronze, Lakra is a double medalist at the Asian Games (gold at Incheon 2014, bronze at Jakarta 2018). He was also part of the silver medal winning Indian team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Catherine J. Martinez