Love for lavish lifestyle drove taekwondo champ, reality show star to world of crime

Suraj Bahadur alias Fighter.

A desire to lead a lavish lifestyle and own luxury cars, branded apparels allegedly led two-times Taekwondo national gold medalist Suraj Bahadur alias Fighter, 28, into the world of crime while he was a teenager.

Suraj joined some petty criminals and started committing house thefts and street crimes like snatching, robbery and vehicle thefts.

Though he was arrested twice between 2014 and June 2017, the fear of law failed to deter him and he continued his criminal activities after being released from jail. Suraj’s luck, however, ran out on Saturday after he landed in police net for allegedly committing an armed robbery in outer Delhi’s Ranhola a week ago. Suraj’s associate, named Anil, was also arrested with him.

MN Tiwari, deputy commissioner of police (outer), said that Suraj and his two associates, Anil and Mustaq, robbed one Deepak and three of his friends, all from Ranhola village, using pepper spray and a country-made pistol. The three fled with Deepak’s gold chain and wallet containing cash, ATM cards and other documents.

“We arrested Suraj and Anil on Friday night following inputs about their movements in Ranhola area. A country-made pistol, one cartridge, two scooters, one pepper spray can and the complainant’s wallet with ATM and visiting cards were recovered from the duo,” said Tiwari, adding Suraj is involved in 24 crimes committed between 2014 and 2017.

Police said Suraj belonged to a well-off family and his father is an advocate in Mumbai. His family disowned him soon after he entered the world of crime . Suraj later shifted base to Delhi and married a woman with whom he had been living in Uttam Nagar area.

According to police, Suraj holds a diploma in computer engineering and is a national-level Taekwondo player. “Singing and playing taekwondo were his hobbies since his childhood. Suraj initially used to fight in local street fight clubs in Mumbai and Delhi. He bagged two gold medals in national level Taekwondo championships in 2012-13,” said a police officer.

According to Tiwari, Suraj also participated in Indian Idol, a popular singing TV reality show, in 2008 and reached up to the “gala” round.

Suraj was arrested twice earlier. “He was arrested in a case at Janakpuri police station in 2014 and around 50 mobiles were recovered from his possession. Later, he was arrested in June 2017 in a case of robbery registered at Tilak Nagar police station,” said the officer adding Suraj had walked out on bail a fortnight ago.