Odisha under international spotlight over death of 3 Russians

Bhubaneswar: Odisha of late has been receiving international attention — although for unfortunate reasons — after three Russian nationals including a millionaire lawmaker Pavel Antov have died under mysterious circumstances in the state in the last fortnight.

The latest death was reported from a cargo ship anchored in the Paradip port in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district early Tuesday morning.

The Russian, identified as Milyakov Sergey (51), was the chief engineer of the vessel, M.B. Aldnah, which was on its way to Mumbai from Chittagong Port in Bangladesh via Paradip, the port authority said.

The police suspected that Milyakov died due to a heart attack. However, the exact cause of the death will be ascertained after proper investigation, a police officer said.

Paradip Port Authority (PPA) chairman P.L. Haranadh confirmed the death of the Russian engineer and said an investigation was underway.

The port authority has informed the local police about the sudden death of the engineer.

“The unfortunate incident happened today morning at around 3 a.m., we received a message from the master of the vessel that a Russian chief engineer had died. The shipping agent is doing all the formalities and our health officer has also gone there. All the protocols are being followed,” said Haranadh.

This is the third such incident where a Russian national has died in a mysterious circumstance.

Earlier, Russian lawmaker Pavel Antov and his friend Vladimir Bidenov were found dead in mysterious circumstances in Rayagada district last month.

Antov was found dead in an under construction building of the hotel on December 24, two days after his friend Bidenov was found dead in his hotel room.

Antov and Bidenov were part of a four-member Russian tourist team that came to Odisha to explore tribal hinterland. The Russian group first visited Daringbadi, a small hill-station in Kandhamal district of Odisha before proceeding to Rayagada town where they checked into Hotel Sai International on December 21.

The next day, Bidenov was found unconscious. When he was taken to the local hospital, the doctors declared him dead.

Police investigation so far revealed that leftovers of smashed liquor bottles were found from his room.

The police suspect that Bidenov died of cardiac arrest in the same hotel.

Similarly, Pavel Antov (65), who allegedly fell from his hotel terrace on December 24 evening, was a business tycoon and member of the Vladimir legislative assembly.

He was a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine invasion.

However, police are yet to confirm whether Antov accidentally fell off the terrace of the hotel room or committed suicide, or any “unseen force” is behind the deaths of all the three Russian nationals.

The Odisha Crime Branch is still investigating the death of two Russians who died in Rayagada hotel.

One team of the crime branch is quizzing the guide and other two Russian associates while another team is camping at Rayagada.

The police officers along with forensic experts visited the hotel multiple times and questioned local cops, doctors and hotel staff. But the police are yet to reveal the reason behind the deaths.

In the meantime, another Russian individual came to limelight as he was seen begging in the Bhubaneswar railway station.

The Russian, identified as Andrew Glagolev, was seen roaming near the Bhubaneswar railway station by holding the placard in which he wrote: “I am a Russian refugee. I am against the war. I am against Putin. I am homeless. Please help me.”

The local police detained Andrew for some hours and later released him.

Andrew has arrived in India with a valid passport and visa. His tourist visa has expired now. However, he has applied for Asylum to concerned authorities in the UN, the police said.

Questions are being raised whether the three deaths and appearance of the Russian refugee are just coincidences or there is an involvement of any conspiracy.

Commenting on the deaths, Odisha DGP Sunil Bansal on Tuesday said: “Investigation is going on. So far, we have not found any foul play in the incidents.”

Asked if he ordered a Crime Branch investigation into the third death, Bansal replied: “After collecting information, I will take a decision on this.”


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