New Delhi/Patiala: Indian boxing’s image continued to take a massive beating with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Sunday dropping Olympic medallist Vijender Singh’s roommate and sparring partner Ram Singh from the national camp in Patiala after he confessed to consuming drugs.
LS Ranawat, the executive director of NIS, confirmed Ram’s dropping after his questioning by the Punjab Police in connection with a case of drug haul in Fatehgarh Sahab district.
“Ram will be relieved from the camp here from Monday,” said Ranawat adding that Vijender would continue to remain in the camp.
The official communication regarding Ram’s expulsion from the camp has not yet been received but information for his expulsion has been received via telephone, he added.
Asked about Ram’s presence in the national camp, he said initially he was not in the list and was inducted only after the recommendation of Vijender.
A source pointed out that since Ram is neither a star boxer nor a medal prospect, his omission would not hamper the camp in any manner. “He is only a sparring partner and has been specially accommodated to help out Vijender.
“Under the prevailing circumstances, his presence could be an embarrassment,” the source added.
Ram is being summoned daily for questioning by the Fatehgarh Sahab Police following the arrest of two persons with 26 kg of heroin from a flat in Zirakpur area of Mohali district.
An SUV registered in the name of Vijender's wife, Archana, was recovered by the police from near the flat where an NRI Anup Singh Kahlon and his driver were arrested. Four persons were arrested later.
Ram, during interrogation on Saturday, had claimed that Vijender and he “consumed small quantities of drug” on a few occasions, which was given to them by Kahlon, who attempted suicide under police custody on Saturday.
Ram told the police that Kahlon had first given him about 2 grams of heroin in December last year without charging money.
He also said the first time Vijender took the contraband was when the two were driving from Chandigarh to National Institute of Sports in Patiala. He also told the police that they had not participated in any competitive event after consumption of the drug.
Vijender, a former world No.1, gave India their first Olympic medal in boxing when he clinched a bronze in the 2008 Games. Besides, he is an Asian Games gold-medallist and a multiple-time Commonwealth Games medallist.
Considered the poster boy of Indian boxing, Vijender has stated that he is not involved in the scandal and does not know the alleged drug peddler caught by the police.
Meanwhile, even after the allegations, National Anti-Doping Agency (Nada) is unlikely to test the pugilist.
Earlier, Ram claimed that the Vijender consumed drugs with him on a few occasions but insisted that the duo mistook the contraband for food supplements.
“Vijender and I experimented with drugs thinking that they were food supplements. We did not know that we were taking drugs.
“We were told that we were consuming food supplements meant to increase strength and stamina,” Ram told police.