A day after Punjab Police claimed ace pugilist Vijender Singh had consumed heroin 12 times, the union sports ministry stepped in to clear the air.
On Monday, the ministry directed the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to carry out dope tests on Vijender.
Vijender, who agreed to provide samples for the test, however, denied the police claims, which were based mainly on the details of his phone conversations with alleged NRI drug dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon and the recovery of his Ford Endeavour from outside Kahlon’s flat in Zirakpur.
HT found the police claim of 80 calls exchanged between Vijender and Kahlon contrary to actual call details. Between March 12, 2012, and March 12, 2013, Vijender has spoken to Kahlon only eight times. Two of the calls were made on February 22 and 26.
Countering the police claim that the SUV, registered in his wife’s name, was found outside Kahlon’s flat, Vijender indicated the police had planted it there. “On March 7, Ram Singh, Vijender’s sparring partner, who is also accused of heroin consumption, had been called to the Fatehgarh Sahib police station for interrogation,” Vijender said. “My friends, Arjuna awardee pugilist Dinesh Kumar and former international pugilist Bunty said they had gone with Ram in the same car.”
On March 9, HT had published a report quoting Kumar, who, confirming the chain of events, had added, “Around 1pm, a few police personnel approached us and asked for the SUV’s keys.”
The controversy over the Olympic medallist has been on for a month. Vijender’s name was dragged into the matter after police arrested Kahlon on March 3 and 26 kg of heroin was seized from his house.
On Monday, requesting the NADA to bring an end to the matter through a test, the sports ministry said, “Such reports in respect of a sporting icon are disturbing and may have a debilitating influence on other sportspersons.”
NADA officials said even if heroin consumption was proved, Vijender was unlikely to be penalised. “Heroin is a banned drug, but an athlete can be punished only if he tests positive in ‘in-competition’ testing,” said a senior NADA official.
Where is Ram Singh?
Since the day (March 7) Ram Singh had gone to the Fatehgarh Sahib police station for interrogation he has been with Punjab Police. The police have not shown his arrest so far and he is being detained illegally.
A friend of Ram Singh, not willing to be named, said: “In the past three weeks, Ram Singh’s parents have been to Fatehgarh Sahib police station four times. They have not been allowed to meet him. Rather, they were told that he was being taken to various places for investigation. They were only allowed to leave clothes for Ram Singh.”
The former international boxer has been dismissed from Punjab Police after he admitted to taking drugs during interrogation. He was a head constable.