Chandigarh, March 8: Punjab police today said Olympic bronze-medallist boxer Vijender Singh could be questioned “if necessary” in connection with a Rs 130-crore drug haul on Chandigarh’s outskirts but acknowledged they had found no “direct link” connecting the pugilist to the narcotics.
Vijender, who is in Mumbai, said he was “shocked” at the “ridiculous” idea that he could be involved and hoped the matter would be cleared up fast.
The police seized 26kg of heroin and other drugs yesterday from the Zirakpur home of a Canada-based NRI, Anoop Singh Kahlon, and said a car belonging to Vijender’s wife was parked near the house. They acknowledged that no drugs were found in the car and added that the car keys were inside.
“At the moment, there is no direct link connecting Vijender with Kahlon. But we are investigating how a car that is registered in the name of his wife Archana was found near Kahlon’s house,” deputy inspector-general (Ludhiana range) M.F. Farooqui said in Fatehgarh Sahib near Chandigarh.
“I am shocked. I am in Mumbai right now for work,” Vijender was quoted by PTI as saying.
“My friends dropped me at the airport in my wife’s car. I don’t know how it reached outside that Zirakpur flat. My friends could have used that car after dropping me but I don’t understand how my name can be dragged into this.
“The police have already clarified that nothing was recovered from the car. They have not even contacted me.”
Contacted by The Telegraph, Vijender said his friends were supposed to have parked the car at the Netaji Institute of Sports in Patiala, a Punjab town about 110km from Chandigarh.
Vijender, a deputy superintendent with Haryana police, lives in Bhiwani, 250km from Chandigarh, but travels to Patiala regularly to practise.
“I have met Kahlon a couple of times through somebody whom I can’t remember. I meet a lot of people, but I am at a loss to understand the allegations about my so-called involvement,” he said.
Kahlon was arrested at a checkpoint with 600gm of heroin at the weekend. After interrogation, the police raided his flat. Of the 26kg heroin found, about 10kg was in a car parked outside the apartment but this wasn’t the car belonging to Vijender’s wife, police sources said.
“We have stumbled across Ram Singh, a national-level boxer, who knows Kahlon and is a friend of Vijender. He is being questioned. If necessary, we will call Vijender and take his statement as he (Kahlon) has made certain disclosures,” a senior district police officer said.
He claimed that Kahlon had named both Vijender and Ram Singh as his “clients” whom he supplied with heroin. Ram Singh is a Punjab police constable.
“If he (Kahlon) is a drug peddler, how can his word be trusted?” Vijender was quoted by PTI as saying.
“If I abuse drugs, won’t I be caught in dope tests? Even now, I am open to being tested if required. I am sure (that) by evening, everything will become clear. I have no links to any of the persons named by the police.”
Vijender became the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal at Beijing 2008. He later won gold at the 2010 Asian Games.
A court has remanded Kahlon and his associate Kulwinder Singh to police custody for four days, PTI added.
Police sources alleged that Kahlon used to smuggle drugs to various European nations and the US. They said Kahlon had been living in Canada since 1995 with his family but frequented India. He was a truck driver but allegedly developed ties with the European and US drug mafia.