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Vijender saga is disappointing, says Sports Minister

Apr 04, 2013 10:59 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Mounting pressure on India's Olympic champion Vijender Singh, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said that the entire episode is disappointing for the youngsters and all the sportspersons. Singh also said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows all drug tests and that Vijender can be checked for heroin as well.

Unhappy with the tests carried out by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), the police said that vital hair follicle test used to detect heroin use has been left out. Instead blood and urine tests have been conducted which hold good only for a couple of days after the consumption of drugs.

On Wednesday the NADA had collected Vijender's blood and urine samples but the agency said it is not authorised to conduct a hair follicle test.

Meanwhile, Punjab Police ADG Intelligence HS Dhillon said that the boxer has not been let off. "The police is focussing on nail analysis of Vijender Singh. We are identifying the best forensic toxicology lab in the country. Vijender Singh has not been let off. We are seeking legal advise with new amendments on moving ahead in seeking custody of Vijender Singh."

NADA on Wednesday had said that it can only test for performance enhancing drugs and since heroin is not considered as one, it cannot take his sample out of competition, sources said. NADA, which is an autonomous body and does not fall under the Government of India, does not necessarily have to follow the orders. Moreover, the test for heroin can only be done at a forensic lab, which NADA does not have.

The Punjab Police had claimed that Vijender consumed heroin 12 times in the past few months. Meanwhile, Vijender's friend and sparring partner Ram Singh has been arrested for suspected drug trafficking. Punjab Police ADG Hardeep Singh Dhillon said, "Hair follicle test is more important. We will consult our lawyers, seek legal advise and decide thereafter. I don't believe that anybody would be exerting any pressure."

Ram Singh was booked after drugs were recovered from his brother-in-law's residence. He is the 16th person to be arrested in the multi-crore drug haul case. Fatehgarh SSP HS Mann said, "We have arrested Ram Singh because we recovered Rs 115 crore worth heroin from his relative's house."

Issuing a statement, the Sports Ministry had on Monday said, "Reports have appeared in the media regarding alleged consumption of heroin by Vijender Singh. Such reports in respect of a sporting icon are disturbing and may have a debilitating influence on other sportspersons in the country. It has, therefore, been considered necessary that NADA gets a test carried out on Vijender Singh for his reported use of heroin even out-of-competition."

The Ministry's strong statement came hours after the Punjab Police was "advised" by the District Attorney of Fatehgarh Saheb against collecting the Olympian medallist's blood and hair samples for testing. Vijender and fellow boxer Ram Singh are under scrutiny for alleged involvement in the Mohali drug haul case.