Delhi Police, investigating the death of sprinter Palender Chaudhary, said on Wednesday that they probing if the 18-year-old killed himself because of a financial crunch. Police is also probing if his death is linked to a possible tiff with a woman friend.
Palender Chaudhary died in a hospital on Wednesday morning after an alleged suicide attempt in his hostel room at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JLN) athletics academy on Tuesday.
According to the police, Chaudhary, an athlete from Aligarh, had practised till 5.30 pm at the stadium on Tuesday after which he returned to his room. Preliminary enquiry revealed he attempted suicide around 6 pm.
The police said the sportsman had called his father to ask for money hours before he allegedly killed himself.
Chaudhary, who allegedly used a crepe bandage to hang himself from a ceiling fan, represented India in international events.
In a statement, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said other athletes and Chaudhary’s sister, who had gone to visit him at the hostel, raised an alarm around 6 pm after which SAI officials rushed to the room and brought him down.
“He was alive and was rushed to Safdarjung Hospital by SAI officials. He was given CPR in the ambulance. Emergency medical attention was given to him at the hospital upon arrival. But he could not be saved,” SAI said.
Palender’s sister – his cousin -however, clarified that she did not visit him on Tuesday.
“There was no problem. He was focussed on his game and career. I am the only sister in Delhi and I haven’t met him. The news that I met him is fake,” reported ANI quoting his cousin.
Police, however, said one of Chaudhary’s female friends visited him in the hostel and found him hanging.
Additional deputy commissioner of police (south) Vijayanta Arya said they received information around 9 pm from Safdarjung Hospital about Chaudhary’s alleged suicide attempt.
“He was living in room number 69 on the second floor of his hostel since November 2016 and was training for 100 and 200 m races. One of Chaudhary’s female friends, who had visited him on Tuesday evening, saw him hanging and raised an alarm. Doctors declared him dead on Wednesday morning. No suicide note was found during enquiry. The reason for the suicide is being probed,” Arya said.
Chaudhary’s father Mahesh Pal said he had last spoken to his son at about 3 pm. “He told me to send the money by next month. He did not ask me to hurriedly send the money and he was facing no financial crunch. Then he went back to practice. I got a call from his hostel around 6.30 pm. They told me that my son has high fever and I must come to attend him,” said Pal, who had arrived in Delhi by 9 pm on Tuesday.
Friends and family members, who came to collect Chaudhary’s body, said he was a rising athlete and not a person who could give up on life.
The Olympic aspirant
“He was an Olympic aspirant. Recently, he had to get rid of the Olympics rings tattoo he had made on his left arm a few months ago. He got it removed because he was appearing for a job in the army. After his recent sports trials in Jabalpur, he was to appear for the written examination on November 25. His family members were very hopeful Chaudhary would get this job,” said Ajit Kumar, a long-jump athlete who has known to Chaudhary since 2012.
In 2017 Chaudhary was selected for the Asian Youth Championships in Bangkok and won a gold medal in the relay race. He participated in the World Youth Championship in July 2017.
The sports authority said director general of sports Neelam Kapur had ordered an internal enquiry to probe the incident. The enquiry will be headed by the SAI secretary.
Kapur said, “The enquiry officer will speak to coaches, other athletes and his family members, especially his sister, who had come to visit him that evening, to understand what may have led him to take this extreme step.”