File picture of Vijender Singh and Ram Singh
Vijender Singh, India's only Olympic medallist boxer, who has denied using drugs, was interrogated for over three hours this evening by the Punjab Police, and refused to share blood or hair samples for forensic examination. The boxer was interrogated by a team of Punjab Police officials in Panchkula, about 20 kilometres from state capital Chandigarh.
Vijender has admitted to knowing an NRI named Anoop Singh Kahlon who was arrested last week for dealing drugs. More than 26 kilograms of drugs, including heroin, were found at his flat in Punjab. A car registered in the name of the boxer's wife was found parked at the alleged dealer's home.
Vijender sparring partner and national-level boxer Ram Singh has said that the pair sourced drugs a few times from the dealer as "an adventure," according to news agency IANS. "We had taken very small quantity of drugs, less than two grams each. But we are not habitual takers of drugs and had tried it just for adventure. We did not intend to improve our stamina or performance by taking it," Ram Singh told IANS on the phone.
But Vijender Singh had emphatically denied that he has any links to the case. "I have nothing to do with drugs. I am ready to join investigations at any point of time and am also ready to undergo any kind of dope test," he had earlier said.
In Delhi, sports minister Jitendra Singh today said action would be taken against Vijender Singh if he is implicated or found guilty in the case. "At this point of time, the Punjab Police is investigating the matter. When a conclusion is reached and somebody is implicated or chargesheeted, we will definitely take action," Mr Singh said.
The police had recovered heroin, worth Rs 130 crore in the international market, from Kahlon's residence, which it raided after his arrest and interrogation. Kahlon has reportedly alleged that Vijender and Ram Singh were his clients, the police have said.
But Ram Singh said, "We did not pay anything to Kahlon for drugs." He also said, "Vijender was in touch with some Mumbai celebrities, who were regular in rave parties and took drugs. Therefore we also tried it."
Ram Singh, who is a national level boxer, has been expelled by the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, from its hostel. A panel of coaches also searched his hostel room but reportedly did not find anything.
Ram Singh and Vijender Singh are very close friends and were roommates at NIS for nearly six years. Vijender Singh had reportedly promoted Ram Singh on various platforms by using his influence.