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Drug haul: Sports Ministry intervenes, asks NADA to test Vijender

Apr 01, 2013 06:51 PM IST India India

New Delhi: The Sports Ministry swung into action on Monday and asked the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to carry out tests on boxer Vijender Singh for alleged drug use. 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.

Issuing a statement, the Sports Ministry 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 police, however, maintains that there is no proof of the duo's involvement in drug trafficking or possession of drugs, even though, it adds, they consumed heroin 12 times between December 2012 and February 2013.

The police says that Vijender and Ram Singh procured the drug from alleged peddlers Anoop Singh Kahlon and Rocky for personal consumption. Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Hardyal Singh Mann said, "We have documentary evidence that he knew they were drugs but we're not sure about his involvement. We have asked for their consent to take samples which has to be done by the law. But he rejected."

So far Vijender and Ram Singh have been claiming they took the drugs believing they were food supplements. "When we took them we thought they were food supplements. As soon as we realised those are drugs, we completely cut off our connections," Ram Singh had earlier said.

The case dates back to March 3 when police seized drugs from a flat in Mohali. The police had seized about 28 kgs of heroin, 61 kg of Pseudophedrine and over Rs 1 crore drug money. About 50 kg of ice was destroyed by the family members of the dealers and the total cost of the seizures is around Rs 130 crore and would fetch Rs 484 crore in the international market.

So far 15 persons including two Canadian and one UK citizen have been arrested. The police have, however, ruled out any arrests of the boxers maintaining they had not "actively connived" with the smugglers and nothing was recovered from them.