Russian lawmaker and entrepreneur Pavel Antov has died in the Indian state of Odisha while on vacation, Russian state media TASS reported on Monday.
The millionaire was reportedly celebrating his 65th birthday when he is said to have jumped or fell from the third-floor hotel room or the terrrace of the same building.
Antov was the chairman of the Committee on Agrarian Policy, Nature Management and Ecology of the Legislative Assembly of the Vladimir Region, according to the TASS report. He is also the founder of the Vladimir Standard group of companies.
Since 2018, he was a member of a regional parliament 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Moscow, representing President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
Before entering politics, he founded the food processing enterprise Vladimirsky Standart and in 2019 he was ranked the richest among all parliamentarians and senior officials in the country by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.
In June, Russian media published a WhatsApp message attributed to Antov that said a Kremlin missile bombardment on Ukraine was “terrorism.”
Antov took to the Russian social media network VK to deny writing the message, insisting that he supported Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Antov’s death follows the mysterious death of his colleague, Vladimir Budanov, who also died in Odisha’s Rayagada, The Hindu reported on Tuesday.
According to the New Indian Express, Antov was “visibly upset” after attending Budanov’s funeral. Later that evening, he jumped to his death and was declared dead by doctors at the Rayagada district headquarters hospital.
Police are reportedly guarding the hotel now.
While authorities have not clarified the cause of death, Budanov fell ill after consuming alcohol excessively or died from a heart-related incident, multiple local reports suggest.
“First tourist was found unconscious, [and] after medical examination he was found dead. [The] second tourist was mentally disturbed after his friend's cremation, [and] he was found lying on the hotel premises. When taken to hospital, he was [pronounced] dead,” Asian News International quoted the hotel owner as saying.
The two individuals were part of a group of four. The quartet reportedly arrived on December 21.
The two companions reportedly continue to stay in the same hotel after being questioned by the relevant authorities and are awaiting communication from the Russian embassy to depart India.