Pradeep Pattanayak

Putting all gossip surrounding the way the final rites of two Russian nationals including lawmaker Pavel Antov were performed in Rayagada to rest, Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov said nothing wrong has been done in performing the last rites of the deceased duo. 

Antov, one of Russia's wealthy lawmakers and a fervent critic of President Vladimir Putin, died under mysterious circumstances two days after the death of another national, Vladimir Videnov in a hotel in Rayagada. Thereafter, their mortal remains were consigned to flames. 

However, a debate erupted over their last rites which were allegedly performed in a hurry. The duo was reportedly cremated instead of being buried. A controversy had already started surrounding it. 

Meanwhile, Alipov said he is happy with the investigation launched by the Indian police, clarifying as per the Russian traditions; a body can be buried or consigned to flames. 

Replying to a tweet by Congress leader Manish Tiwari, Alipov wrote, "We appreciate the investigation efforts by the Indian authorities into the death of two Russian nationals in Odisha." 

"Meanwhile it would be useful for some Hercule Poirot lovers to learn that cremation in Russia is as customary as burial. Idleness is the root of all evil," he added. 

At the same time, the Consulate General of Russia in Kolkata in a Tweet said, “The nearest relatives of the deceased have clearly expressed their will to have bodies of Vladimir Bydanov and Pavel Antov cremated and their remains (ashes) brought to Russia.”

Amid the controversy surrounding the death of the Russian nationals, a photo of four Russian tourists including Vladimir Videnov and Antov Pavel with the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar forming the backdrop has gone viral. It suggests that they had visited Bhubaneswar before going to Daringbadi and Rayagada.  

Meanwhile, a four-member team of the Crime Branch and two members of the forensic laboratory have reached Rayagada to probe into the case.

(Reported by Maudi Barik from Rayagada, OTV)