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Day after altercation, teen found dead on track; kin blame medallist Mariappan

What looked like a petty quarrel on Saturday turned out to be a serious issue that could land Paralympics gold medallist Mariappan Thangavelu of Periyavadagampatti village in Salem district in trouble.

Day after altercation, teen found dead on track; kin blame medallist Mariappan
Family of Sathish kumar at the police station


A day after Mariappan had an altercation with a teenager identified as M Sathish Kumar, the latter was found dead along the railway track near Omalur in Salem on Sunday. 

Initially, the Sathish Kumar’s relatives refused to receive the body blaming the gold medallist responsible for the teen’s death. They also approached the police and demanded action against him on Monday.  

Mariappan (21) shot to fame and brought laurels to the country by winning gold medal in high jump discipline at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Later, Mariappan had shifted to a rented house at Naachinampatti Pirivu, near Omalur. Police said that he came to his friend Yuvaraj’s house at Periyavadagampatti in a new car on Saturday evening 

and parked the vehicle on the roadside. 

M Sathish Kumar (18), a lorry cleaner, who was riding a bike, accidentally bumped into the left rear door of the car and damaged the lock. Agitated over this, Mariappan and his friends picked up an argument with Sathish. They grabbed a  smart phone from Sathish and asked him to pay Rs 20,000 to get it back. Muniamma, the victim’s mother, and Sangeetha, his sister, alleged that the trio humiliated their family. 

On Saturday night Sathish told his family that he himself would settle issue and return with his mobile phone. But, he did not. The next day, villagers told Muniamma that her son’s body was found amid bushes close to the railway track. Theevettipatti police and Salem railway police visited the place and conducted investigations. 

Police sent the body to Omalur government hospital. Meanwhile, family members alleged that Mariappan and his friends had murdered Sathish and sought a case to be registered against him for murder or abetment of suicide. Due to the protest the body was sent to the Salem GH for post mortem.

The family refused to collect the body on Monday morning. They also grew furious as Mariappan told reporters in Salem that the family was staging such protests to get money from him.  After much persuasion by the railway police officials, Sathish’s relatives accepted his body on Monday evening. 

Superintendent of Police (SP) of Salem district P Rajan told DT Next that death of Sathish looked like a clear case of suicide. “The youth was upset as Mariappan and his friends went to his house and questioned him for damaging his car. Mariappan’s friend Sabari grabbed the mobile phone from Sathish. Upset over the turn of events the boy must have committed suicide,” the SP said. 

Though the incident took place in  Theevettipatti Police Station limits, Rajan said Salem railway police registered the case under section 174 (suspicious death) of the Code of Criminal Procedures and were investigating as the body was found along the railway track.

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