Chandigarh, March 10: Star boxer Vijender Singh will be questioned following a police statement by his sparring partner Ram Singh that they had taken heroin several times mistaking it for a “food supplement”, Punjab police sources said.
The sources clarified that the Olympic bronze medallist is suspected only of using drugs and not of involvement in the smuggling racket busted recently with a Rs 130-crore heroin haul from a flat in a Chandigarh suburb. A car belonging to Vijender’s wife was parked near the house but no drugs were found in it.
“We will be summoning Vijender for questioning. However, at present, the focus of our investigation is to catch other smugglers in this case,” Fatehgarh Sahib senior superintendent of police H.S. Mann said.
Ram, a national-level boxer and Punjab police head constable, has been expelled from the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, where he was Vijender’s roommate.
The NIS said it was not planning any action against Vijender, 27, who has denied ever taking or smuggling drugs.
The Fatehgarh Sahib police’s version of what Ram, grilled every day for the past three days but not arrested yet, has told them:
NRI Anoop Singh Kahlon, from whose flat the heroin seizure was made, had first given Ram about 2gm of heroin last December free of charge. Between January 1 and February 26, Ram and Vijender took the drug two or three times under the impression it was a “food supplement” but stopped once they realised what it really was.
Police sources said Vijender had got Ram his NIS berth and often helped him with money. They said Ram had driven Vijender in his wife’s car to the airport on the day of the haul and later parked it outside Kahlon’s house.
National boxing coach G.S. Sandhu defended Vijender, saying: “He is very particular about verifying the contents of any medicine he takes. He has been training in Patiala for the last 10 years and there have never been any complaints against him. He has passed all dope tests.”
Indian Amateur Boxing Federation president Abhishek Matoria said it was Vijender’s word against Ram’s and that his organisation would side with the Olympian “as of now”.
The police today searched a factory belonging to relatives of Arjuna Awardee wrestler and former deputy superintendent of police Jagdish Bhola, the alleged mastermind who is in hiding. An officer said airports were being alerted to prevent Bhola from leaving the country.
The police have arrested a seventh accused, Sunil Katyal, who was allegedly hired to check the “purity and quality” of the drug, from Ludhiana. Kahlon and five associates had been arrested earlier.