Narsingh Yadav and his battery of lawyers are sticking to their stand that someone added banned substance in his drink for him to test positive.
But at the start of the hearing , Narsingh admitted before the anti-doping disciplinary panel that “the doping was done, but it was done unintentionally and without my knowledge. Hence I should be given the benefit of doubt.”
During the hearing, Narsingh’s lawyers led by Vidhusphat Singhania claimed sabotage, telling the panel that his client was not responsible for the positive dope test.
During the submission, they claimed that the alleged act of sabotage with his drinks happened either on June 23 or June 24. “While he was exercising or practicing, he had left his water bottle on the mat and as it was left unattended, probably somebody has put some substance in it and that is how he has tested positive,” they told the hearing panel, a source privy to the proceedings said.
“They also cited the June 5 incident but did not stress on it. Their stress was on those two dates on which they claimed the contamination happened,” he added.
The June 5 incident is mentioned in Narsingh’s police complaint (see transcript), where he says his friend witnessed another 17-year-old wrestler adding something to his food at the SAI’s Sonepat centre.
However, at the hearing, Narsingh said he was unaware of the June 5 incident till he returned from a training stint on Bulgaria on June 22. “He said he was only told about the incident after coming back from Bulgaria’s training stint,” the source said.
The 17-year-old has been named in the FIR registered on Narsingh’s complaint.
Narsingh also alleged in the hearing that the head of the Sonepat centre, Radhica Sreeman, was complicit in the sabotage attempt.
As of now, NADA is only focussed on the hearing related to the positive results of sample taken on June 25. NADA lawyer Gourang Kanth is seeking a ban of four years for Narsingh.
But if they consider the positive result of the sample taken on July 5 (for which he has again tested positive for the same anabolic steroid metandienone) as a second violation, then Narsingh will face a life ban.
However, NADA director general Naveen Agarwal said for the time being the agency is treating it as a first offence. Kanth said they were only dealing with the June 25 violation as of now.
Kanth said the onus will be on Narsingh to prove his conspiracy allegation, under the relevant WADA rule.