Chandigarh: The rift between the Punjab Police and the Sports Ministry over India's Olympic champion Vijender Singh is out in the open now. Unhappy with the tests carried out by NADA, the police said that vital hair follicle test used to detect heroin use has been left out. Instead blood and urine tests have been conducted which hold good only for a couple of days after the consumption of drugs.
On Wednesday the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) collected Vijender's blood and urine samples but the agency said it is not authorised to conduct a hair follicle test.
NADA refused to test Vijender for heroin saying it is bound by international protocol. Vijender's drug test comes a day after the Sports Ministry threatened to take action if he did not submit himself for a test at NADA.
NADA said it can only test for performance enhancing drugs and since heroin is not considered as one, it cannot take his sample out of competition, sources said. NADA, which is an autonomous body and does not fall under the Government of India, does not necessarily have to follow the orders. Moreover, the test for heroin can only be done at a forensic lab, which NADA does not have.
The Punjab Police had claimed that Vijender consumed heroin 12 times in the past few months. Meanwhile, Vijender's friend and sparring partner Ram Singh has been arrested for suspected drug trafficking. Punjab Police ADG Hardeep Singh Dhillon said, "Hair follicle test is more important. We will consult our lawyers, seek legal advise and decide thereafter. I don't believe that anybody would be exerting any pressure."
Ram Singh was booked after drugs were recovered from his brother-in-law's residence. He is the 16th person to be arrested in the multi-crore drug haul case. Fatehgarh SSP HS Mann said, "We have arrested Ram Singh because we recovered Rs 115 crore worth heroin from his relative's house."
Issuing a statement, the Sports Ministry had on Monday said, "Reports have appeared in the media regarding alleged consumption of heroin by Vijender Singh. Such reports in respect of a sporting icon are disturbing and may have a debilitating influence on other sportspersons in the country. It has, therefore, been considered necessary that NADA gets a test carried out on Vijender Singh for his reported use of heroin even out-of-competition."
The Ministry's strong statement came hours after the Punjab Police was "advised" by the District Attorney of Fatehgarh Saheb against collecting the Olympian medallist's blood and hair samples for testing. Vijender and fellow boxer Ram Singh are under scrutiny for alleged involvement in the Mohali drug haul case.