Russian politician and businessman Pavel Antov was found lying in a pool of blood outside a hotel in eastern India on Monday, just days after his friend, Vladimir Bidenov, died at the same hotel.
Antov was a member of the legislative assembly of the Vladimir Region and founded the Vladimir Standard meat processing plant. He was ranked as the richest civil servant in Russia in 2019, with an income of 9.97 billion rubles.
"Our colleague, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist Pavel Antov passed away. On behalf of the deputies of the United Russia faction, I express my deep condolences to relatives and friends," said Vice Speaker of the Regional Parliament Vyacheslav Kartukhin.
Antov criticized Putin's attacks on Kyiv
In July, Antov published a message on WhatsApp criticizing Russian attacks on Kyiv as "terrorism," although he later retracted the post and claimed it had been posted by someone else.
The fact that Antov fell out of a hotel window sparked concerns of foul play, as opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been killed in similar ways.
An unnamed police source told NDTV that Antov's death appeared to be a suicide as Antov was depressed after his friend's death. On Thursday, Bidenov was found lying unconscious in his room at the hotel, with a few empty wine bottles around him. He was rushed to a local hospital where doctors declared him dead.
Odisha Police announced on Tuesday that the inquiry into the two deaths was being taken over by the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department of India.
DGP, Odisha has ordered CID-Crime Branch to take over enquiry into Rayagada Police Station UD Case No.34/2022 & No.35/2022. These cases relates to unnatural death of two Russian nationals in Rayagada Dist. @CIDOdisha— Odisha Police (@odisha_police) December 27, 2022
NDTV reported on Tuesday that the Russian Embassy had stated that no criminal link had been found to the deaths of the two Russians in Odisha.
"We are aware of the tragedy that happened in Odisha, where two of our citizens died. One of them is Pavel Antov, member of the Legislative Assembly of the Vladimir Oblast. We are in constant contact with the relatives of the deceased as well as with local authorities. As far as we know, police do not yet see a criminal component in these tragic events," the Russian embassy in India told NDTV.
Russian Consul General in Calcutta Alexei Idamkin told TASS that the cause of Bidenov's was determined as a heart attack.