Grounded: What’s luring Punjab, Haryana sportsmen to the world of crime

Aggression and competition are factors that influence sportsmen in Punjab and Haryana to lean towards crime and gangsters, which gives them power and money | Image - Eunice Dhivya

In 2004, Mehal Singh Bhullar from Bodla village of Muktsar district in Punjab sent his son Harjinder to the Government Arts and Sports College in Jalandhar as he wanted him to represent India in discus throw and to win gold for the nation in Olympics.

“Harjinder was a bright sportsman. People used to call him Vicky in primary school. He used to spend most of his time on the ground practising. That is why he was given the name Vicky Gounder. He was strong and won many gold medals at the college. His father and I were sure that he had a bright future in the game,” Parnam Singh, his college coach, tells The Federal.

But little did they know then that Vicky’s fate was taking him to a dark world of crime. During his college days, Vicky met Navpreet Singh, popularly known as Lovely Baba. When they left college in 2007, Lovely introduced Vicky to local gangsters Prema Lahoriya and Sukha Kahlwan.

Three years later, Kahlwan killed Lovely in a clash. Vicky, being his  close friend, pledged to kill Kahlwan. He waited for his time as the latter was in jail. Then in 2015, when Kahlwan was being taken back to jail from a district court, Vicky broke the security and killed him.

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