Call details show Vijender and Kahlon were in regular contact
The Punjab Police have decided to question Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh in the case related to the busting of an international drug peddling network in which six persons, including an NRI, were arrested and 26 kg of heroin worth Rs 120 crore recovered.
However, the timing and procedure of questioning is yet to be decided, Fatehgarh Sahib district police chief Hardyal Singh Mann said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the National Institute of Sports (NIS), L.S. Ranawat, told reporters in Patiala that based on his confession, boxer Ram Singh, who was Vijender’s sparring partner, had been expelled from an ongoing national boxing camp.
Mr. Ranawat also disclosed that Ram Singh's name was included in the list of probables by the Sports Ministry on Vijender’s insistence.
Reports quoting officials said the National Anti-Doping Agency is unlikely to proceed against Vijender due to technical issues, as heroin figured in a schedule of substances that could be tested only during a sporting event where an athlete was competing.
Though Mr. Mann did not come out with details, it is understood the police had prepared a detailed questionnaire, which Vijender would be required to respond to.
The Punjab police may seek the cooperation of their Haryana counterparts in quizzing Vijender, a Deputy Superintendent of Police there.
Mr. Mann said they had yet to decide whether they would require Vijender for custodial interrogation, especially after the revelations by one of the kingpins of the racket, Canada-based Anoop Singh Kahlon, who alleged the boxer and his friend were his clients.
Reports also indicated that the police officers who analysed phone call details found that Vijender and Kahlon were in regular contact, though the boxer has denied any major connection.
Ram Singh, Vijender’s friend and room partner at the NIS, was subjected to sustained questioning.
On six occasions
He is reported to have told the interrogators that they had purchased small amounts of heroin from Kahlon and consumed them on an experimental basis on six occasions.
However, some confusion was created as the police indulged in selective leaks about the interrogation.
While talking to another set of reporters who were escorted by police officials, Ram Singh said he, along with Vijender, consumed the contraband as they mistook it to be a health supplement.
But the “health supplement” version fell on its face when NIS coach G.S. Sandhu told reporters in Patiala that the Olympic pugilist never used any medicines without confirming their impact on dope tests. He said Vijender had cleared dope tests on various occasions.
Hunt for another kingpin
The Punjab police have launched a hunt for another kingpin of the network, Jagdish Bhola, who was a wrestler before joining the police, from where he was dismissed a few years ago following his involvement in trade of the contraband.
The police are also on the lookout for three more individuals, as well as probing links of a Sirhind-based businessman, who was visited by some foreign nationals recently.
A special police team has been deputed to screen activities in and around the NIS and other sports facilities.