Pradeep Pattanayak

In a new twist to the mysterious deaths of two Russian tourists in Odisha’s Rayagada district, it has now surfaced that Pavel Antov, one of the deceased, was a Russian lawmaker and a businessman. 

Pavel along with his three friends had come to Odisha on tourist VISAs. After landing in Odisha via New Delhi, they went to Rayagada on December 21. They stayed at Sai International hotel in the town. They had reportedly planned to visit Jeypore town. 

On December 22, one of the four, Vladimir Videnov (62) was found dead inside his room. The post mortem report confirmed heart attack to be the reason behind the death. 

Two days later, on December 24, Pavel’s body was found in a pool of blood outside the hotel. It was then discussed that he fell off the room terrace and died. 

If the tourist guide’s version is to be believed, Pavel and Videnov were intimate friends and the former had been behaving differently since the death of the latter. Unable to bear the trauma, he might have committed suicide, the guide said.
After informing the Russian embassy, Videnov’s last rites were performed at Rayagada. However, police have preserved the body of Pavel and launched a probe. The cops are quizzing the other two tourists. 

Now the two deaths have left several questions like why a lawmaker took such an extreme step, why did they come down to Rayagada, what is the link between Russia and Rayagada and had anyone sent Pavel.
“Their two friends have already been checked out. After coming from performing his friend’s last rites, he (Pavel) seemed to be a bit disturbed and under shock and depression. However, the doctor can only ascertain the reason behind the death after post mortem,” said Koushik Thakkar, the hotel owner.

Meanwhile, DGP Sunil Bansal said if required the case would be investigated by the Crime Branch. 

“Registering two UD cases, we are investigating the case. Since Russian nationals are involved in the case, I have directed the Crime Branch to provide maximum professional requirements to the district police. And if we feel, the case would be transferred to the Crime Branch for full-fledged inquiry,” said Bansal.


(Reported by Maudi Barik from Rourkela, OTV)