The National Anti-Doping Appeal panel (NADAP) on Thursday dismissed an appeal by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in the Nirupama Devi doping case and ruled that there was no “infirmity in the order of the disciplinary panel.”

A disciplinary panel headed by retired judge Dinesh Dayal had last July reprimanded Nirupama, a Manipur judoka, who tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine (MHA) in a competition in January this year.

The NADA appealed, seeking enhancement of punishment, on the argument that the judoka’s ‘degree of fault’ was not assessed in handing down the sanction, that she had failed to prove how the substance got into her body and that she did not have any proof to support her argument that she had used the particular beauty aids of VLCC that she claimed had caused the ‘positive’ test.

The whole case was based on the argument that VLCC products contained geranium oil and geranium, in turn, contained MHA.

However, geranium was not listed as a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), though it had issued an explanatory note in October 2011 stating that MHA was known by several synonyms and may be sold under some other names including geranium root extract and geranium oil.

Claims innocence

Nirupama claimed she did not know about this since the NADA put up this information only in January, 2012 when she tested positive. Though the NADA argued its case based on various points the NADAP stated that the “Appellant has not been able to assail the order of the Disciplinary Panel to the satisfaction of the Appeal Panel.”

The fact remained that several organisations including health authorities in the UK, Canada and Australia have rejected the contention that geranium oil contained MHA, and have banned the supplements containing MHA in their countries. Recent research has claimed that MHA was not a constituent of geranium.

There is also no evidence to suggest that oils containing geranium when applied locally could lead to a ‘positive test’ of MHA, a contention that the NADA made before the disciplinary as well as appeal panels, without success.

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