After weeks of questioning and his eventual dismissal as head constable from the Punjab Police, international boxer Ram Singh was arrested on Wednesday in the drug smuggling case that had come to fore with the March 3 arrest of NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon by the Fatehgarh Sahib district police.
The 16th person to be arrested in the case, Ram and his fellow boxer and Olympic medallist Vijender Singh had come under the scanner after Kahlon named them as "clients". While denying that he knew of the peddling trade, Ram allegedly told the cops that he and Vijender had taken heroin from their "friend" Kahlon and "tried" the drug. Vijender admitted that he knew Kahlon, but denied any smuggling links or consumption of drugs.
Though both boxers were indeed "not seen as actual connivers in the smuggling trade" and hence not arrested so far, senior superintendent of police (SSP) HS Mann claimed that Ram's arrest was made after a tip-off led to recovery of 5kg 'Ice' (synthetic drug) and 90kg pseudophedrine (narcotics powder) from the parental house of Ram's brother-in-law Ravicharan Singh Deol alias Ravi in Sangrur. Deol, who was a state-level boxer and featured in some Punjabi music videos too, is a proclaimed offender and remains at large.
The SSP said that Ram had wrongly claimed that he had no relations with Deol. "Ram, in fact, had cordial relations with Deol," he said.
It must be mentioned, however, that the family and friends of Ram had underlined how the police had illegally detained him for the past nearly a month without formally arresting him. This detention had denied Ram access to bail and other such remedies available to accused persons.
As for Vijender -- who holds the rank of a DSP in Haryana and has therefore been questioned in Panchkula, once - the police have been planning for long to move court to get his hair and blood samples to determine if he indeed consumed heroin 12 times as alleged.
So far in the case, police have made seizures of heroin and other 'lifestyle' drugs worth over Rs. 480 crore, including the first big seizure of 28kg heroin (worth Rs. 130 crore in the international black market) from Kahlon's house in Zirakpur. Yet, the alleged kingpin, former Arjuna Awardee wrestler Jagdish Singh Bhola, remains beyond the cops' grasp.