Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh-who is in the eye of a storm in connection with a multi-crore drug haul---had allegedly consumed the heroin drug about a dozen times after procuring it from drug peddler NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon, who is under arrest, Punjab Police said on Sunday.
In an exclusive report on March 9, Hindustan Times was the first to report that in the middle of December 2012 Vijender Singh and his roommate Ram Singh, a national champion boxer, began experimenting with the heroin.
The seizure of 26kg heroin by Punjab Police from Kahlon and his accomplice Rocky-- arrested from Zirakpur near Chandigarh on March 3--has put Vijender Singh and Ram Singh under the police scanner.
On March 10, in an exclusive interview to HT, Ram Singh had said that he and Vijender took heroin three to four times from their "friend" Kahlon and consumed it "for fun", but had denied that they knew of Kahlon's illegal trade.
The HT again first reported on March 11 that in February alone Vijender and Kahlon had spoken on the phone at least a dozen times, while Ram and Kahlon had exchanged over 50 calls during the same time.
In fact, Vijender found himself in the eye of the storm after drug peddler Kahlon named him and his fellow boxer Ram Singh as "clients".
"As per investigation conducted so far Vijender Singh consumed the drug about 12 times and Ram Singh about five times. During the investigation it has been established that boxers Ram Singh and Vijender Singh took heroin from Kahlon and Rocky for personal consumption between December 2012 and February 2013," a Punjab Police spokesperson said in a press statement.
The heroin, police said, was first procured by Ram Singh alone in December 2012 and subsequently both the boxers went together to the Zirakpur house of Kahlon for procuring heroin in January and twice in February.
But, police said both the boxers "did not actively connive" with the smugglers in their activities and nothing was recovered from them. "As such both of them are not being arrested in the case at this stage," police said.
Punjab Police have dismissed Ram Singh who was head constable since it was established that he frequented the smugglers and procured heroin from them.
On March 11, Punjab Police had grilled Vijender Singh in Panchkula for nearly three hours in connection with a multi-crore drug haul. Though firm in his defence that he never did drugs nor knew about the smuggling racket, the boxer refused to give his blood and hair samples to the investigators. Testing of the samples could ascertain if Vijender, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Haryana, indeed consumed heroin.
But Vijender had said he would give the samples only to a high-tech lab like that of the National Anti-Doping Agency.
On the other hand, Ram, who on March 28 was dismissed from the post of head constable in Punjab Police had given his blood as well as hair samples to the investigators.
In this connection, police said, that the matter regarding moving the competent court for issuance of directions to the boxers for making themselves available for a hair test was examined by deputy district attorney of Fatehgarh Sahib district. Hair-testing facilities are not available in the local Forensic Science labs.
The crime wing of Punjab Police has directed the local FSL to provide this information -- as to which lab in the country can conduct the test appropriately - early, so that the requisite action can be taken. "It is also clarified that the primary focus of the police is on nabbing the active smugglers and breaking their network," the police said.