Jai Bhagwan, a close friend and sparring partner of Olympic medal-winning boxer Vijender Singh, has blamed the media for tarnishing his (Vijender's) image over the drug haul in Punjab.
Talking to Hindustan Times on the phone on Monday, Olympian boxer Bhagwan said the media, particularly news channels, should be more responsible and telecast/publish verified reports only.
"Various media houses are giving the impression that Vijender is an accused, even though officially nothing has been said by the Punjab police about his involvement, if any."
"Boxer Ram Singh, detained by the Fatehgarh Sahib police for questioning, is daily issuing contradictory statements to the media," said Bhagwan, who has been Vijender's roommate since 1998 at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala.
He said certain sections of the media were making value judgments, which could adversely impact Indian sports.
Bhagwan stated that the Punjab police should be allowed to complete their investigation and not much importance should be given to Ram Singh's conflicting statements in the media.
"Players scheduled to take part in various international meets are subjected to dope tests every month without any intimation. Had Vijender ever taken the contraband, it would have come out in the open by now," he said.
Bhagwan, an inspector with the Haryana police, said he had talked to Vijender, who had laughed off the matter as a media gimmick.
"During our 15-year-long companionship, Vijender did not take drugs even once. I'm sure that he would turn out clean and continue to be a youth icon," said Bhagwan.