It was the middle of December 2012 when Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh and his fellow boxer Ram Singh, a national champion, began experimenting with heroin, top Punjab police officials claimed on Friday night.
Thursday's seizure of 26kg heroin from alleged drug peddler Anoop Singh Kahlon and his accomplice Rocky has put the boxers under the police scanner as Kahlon has named them as his "clients".
Investigators said they summoned Ram for questioning on Friday, and he "admitted" that he was in touch with Kahlon since 2007 and introduced Vijender to him a year ago.
Ram, who is a native of Patiala, is alleged to have confessed that he had taken the drug at least six times from the now-arrested peddlers and consumed it with Vijender, who is a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri winner.
Ram has been Bhiwani-native Vijender's roommate at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, for the past about six years.
Police claimed that in the third week of December last, Ram had come to Chandigarh from Patiala to drop Vijender at the airport as the latter was going to Mumbai. On the way back, Ram for the first time took a small quantity of heroin from the peddlers and "experimented" alone, it is alleged. When Vijender came back from Mumbai, Ram made him try some of the contraband too.
"In January, the duo came to Zirakpur and took another doze of heroin from Rocky. Since their first doze in December, the boxers procured the drug from Kahlon or Rocky at least six times till February," a top police source said, quoting Ram.
After the alleged disclosure, Ram, who is under the "supervision" of the police, was got medically examined. "As of now, it appears Ram Singh is not addicted to the drug, and hopefully similar is the case of Vijender. We will give Ram the best medical help by putting him on a de-addiction regimen if required," said police officials.
Sources further said the boxers are particularly under the scanner to fin out if they intentionally or even unknowingly let their vehicles be used for transporting the contraband.