Death of an athlete, the sequel: Campaign to re-investigate Asian gold medal winner’s death gains ground

Written by Nitin Sharma
| Chandigarh |

September 11, 2020 12:26:47 am

SagardeepOlympian Sagardeep Kaur (L) throughout the 2004 South Asian Federation Games in Islamabad (Express File Photo)

Four years after she was killed in an alleged hit-and-run incident at Cheeka city close to Kaithal in Haryana, the relations of 2002 Asian Championship 4×400 relay gold medallist and 2004 Athens Olympian Sagardeep Kaur have gotten concerned in an ugly battle over the circumstances round her death.

The departed middle-distance runner’s sister Rattandeep Kaur via her #justiceforsagardeep social media marketing campaign – launched final month and supported by a number of elite athletes this week — has blamed her late sibling’s husband Satnam Singh for deceptive the police investigation. Meanwhile, Satnam, a Haryana sports activities division coach, in his grievance filed with the state police’s cyber crime division, says he has been maligned on social media by unproven allegations with regards to the case during which he has been absolved.

Kaithal Superintendent of Police Shashank Kumar Sawan confirmed that the case is closed, however doesn’t rule out the chance of probing it once more.

“As per my knowledge, Kaithal Police conducted inquiries in the matter of Sagardeep’s accident in the past and the case has been closed. We are ready for a fresh inquiry if the family thinks the investigation wasn’t right and approaches us again,” Sawan instructed The Indian Express.

Sagardeep, 36 and a mom of two at the time of death, was an assistant sub-inspector with Punjab Police. A reputed national-ranked runner, she was a reserve member of the Indian relay workforce of S Geetha, KM Beenamol, Chitra Soman and Rajwinder Kaur that completed a historic seventh at the Athens Games.

For the previous week, voices to revisit the case have grown louder with the Sagardeep Facebook web page that includes posts from Asian Games gold medallist discus thrower Seema Antil Punia and London Olympian judoka Garima Chaudhary. On Wednesday, Tokyo Olympics quota holder javelin thrower Shivpal Singh and Asian Games bronze medallist athlete Naveen Dagar took to Twitter, urging the authorities to probe the four-year-old case. At Sagardeep’s hometown Sunam in Punjab, the trainees at the Government Senior secondary School stood in a queue with placards in Punjabi and English, all asking for justice.

The mentioned incident occurred in the early hours of November 23, 2016, when Sagardeep and Satnam had been out for coaching. The info and sequence of occasions that culminated in Sagardeep’s death are nonetheless being contended by relations.

According to Sagardeep’s father Sukhsagar, Satnam has been inconsistent with the particulars. “On the day she died, we were told that Sagardeep met with a road accident at 5 am while going for training on a two-wheeler. This was repeated when we all reached her home. Later in the evening, when we asked about the two-wheeler, they didn’t show it to us. Later, when we saw the FIR that was registered on the day of the accident, it stated that Sagardeep was running on the road when a car hit her. It has been a bundle of lies by Satnam,” Sukhsagar alleged.

Sister Rattandeep, an assistant sub-inspector with Punjab Police, mentioned even the autopsy report didn’t match Satnam’s model of occasions. “The post mortem report stated that Sagardeep had a fractured rib. There were no other injury marks on her body. If it was a road accident, how is it possible that no injury marks were on the body? Also when we asked Cheeka police about photographs of the dead body, they did not give us any answer. We approached SP, Kaithal and he marked an inquiry,” she mentioned.

Sagardeep Kaur along with her two daughters months earlier than her death (Express)

After preliminary investigation, Cheeka Police booked Satnam below Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code for offering false info in an FIR. It was discovered that Satnam had instructed the physician after the accident that Sagardeep was driving a two-wheeler at the time of the accident whereas in his FIR he had said that his spouse received hit by a dashing automotive whereas strolling on the highway. However, the Chief Judicial Magistrate courtroom acquitted Satnam in the case below Section 182 IPC as a result of of prosecution’s procedural lapses in September 2018. In 2019, the Singh household petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to re-investigate the case too was dismissed.

Sharing private particulars about her late sister, Rattandeep mentioned Sagardeep had moved to Spain with Satnam in 2007 the place the two received married. Later in 2010, they returned to India and had a courtroom marriage. “Sagardeep was the eldest among us three, she supported the whole family,” she mentioned.

Fighting for the custody of her late sister’s two youngsters, she mentioned that it’s going to be an extended arduous battle. “ Satnam married one of his trainees in 2018 and we had to approach the district court regarding the custody of Sagardeep’s two daughters. The matter is still in court,” she mentioned.

Satnam mentioned he doesn’t need to speak about the accident. “When my wife died, my elder daughter was seven years old and my younger daughter was less than a year old. I cared for the kids as a father as well as a mother. My parents are in their old age and stay with me. I got married again so that there is somebody to care as a mother for my kids. When my late wife’s family filed a complaint against me within a month of my wife’s death, I was hurt but I gave them all the respect. For one year, they kept coming to meet me and my daughters and I did not stop them. I don’t know why they are running such a campaign against me,” he mentioned.

“My wife was an Olympian and I respected her. I am a reputed coach and have trained many state- and national-level players. All these are false accusations by my wife’s family.”

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