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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

CID probe into deaths of Russians

The foreign nationals, including a millionaire businessman who was a critic of Putin, were found dead in a gap of two days

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 28.12.22, 03:17 AM
Police sources said Bidenov and Antov had visited Kandhamal’s Daringbadi, a tourist destination, before arriving in Rayagada on December 21 with Turov Mikhail and Panasenko Natalia and tourist guide Jitendra Singh.

Police sources said Bidenov and Antov had visited Kandhamal’s Daringbadi, a tourist destination, before arriving in Rayagada on December 21 with Turov Mikhail and Panasenko Natalia and tourist guide Jitendra Singh. Representational picture

The Odisha director-general of police on Tuesday ordered a CID crime branch probe into the deaths of two Russian tourists — Pavel Antov, a millionaire businessman and politician who was a critic of President Vladimir Putin, and Vladimir Bidenov — who died mysteriously in Rayagada last week.

While Bidenov is suspected to have died of a heart attack on December 22, Antov was found lying in a pool of blood on December 24. Police on Tuesday allowed a Russian couple who had accompanied them on the trip to leave Rayagada.

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“According to the early investigation, Bidenov had consumed a lot of alcohol before he suffered a heart attack. On Antov’s death, we have to find out whether he jumped from the hotel building or accidentally slipped or someone pushed him. He had been depressed after his friend’s death,” the inspector in charge of Rayagada Town police station, Rasmi Ranjan Pradhan, said.

Police sources said Bidenov and Antov had visited Kandhamal’s Daringbadi, a tourist destination, before arriving in Rayagada on December 21 with Turov Mikhail and Panasenko Natalia and tourist guide Jitendra Singh.

They checked into hotel Sai International, a three-storey building. December 22 was Antov’s 66th birthday. According to hotel sources, Bidenov and Antov were in room number 203 on the ground floor while the couple put up in room number 303 on the first floor.

The tour operator was in a third room. The group was to travel to tribal hamlets to see the tribal way of living.

“They had planned to go to Jeypore, in neighbouring Koraput district, on December 22. On the evening of December 21, they had a party at which both got heavily drunk. Upset, the couple retired to their room and decided to leave for Gopalpur beach,” inspector Pradhan said.

“The next morning, Mikhail and Natalia left with the tourist guide. But when we informed them about the death of Bidenov, they immediately returned. We have examined their role,” Pradhan said, adding that the police on Tuesday allowed Mikhail and Natalia to leave Rayagada.

Bidenov’s death came to light when a hotel boy knocked on the door around 10am.

“Antov answered the door and a few minutes later found Bidenov unresponsive. Bidenov was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival,” said hotel receptionist Bijay Swain.

“We had been keeping an eye on Antov after Bidenov’s death. One of our hotel boys saw him on the terrace and tried to talk to him. But Antov refused to talk and told the boy to clear out, getting agitated. The boy immediately reported this to us and we rushed to the terrace. He was not there. Moments later, he was found lying in a pool of blood on the ground,” Swain said.

The Russian embassy in Delhi said: “We are aware of the tragic demise of two Russian citizens in Odisha.” Antov was a Vladimir Region Legislative Assembly member, it said.

“The Consulate-General of Russia in Kolkata is following the case in touch with local authorities. According to information available to the police, no criminal aspect is seen,” the embassy said.

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