Court breather for Vijender Singh in drug case

Rejects police plea to procure hair and fingernail samples

Court breather for Vijender Singh in drug case

Olympian boxer Vijender Singh, who courted controversy in a drug haul case in Punjab in March, got some reprieve from a court in Punjab after it rejected a plea by Punjab police that had sought directions to procure Vijender’s hair and fingernail samples for forensic testing.

This, the police had maintained, was crucial to determine whether or not the Olympian boxer had consumed heroin, as was being alleged by his sparring partner. Traces of heroin remain in hair and nails (not in blood) beyond 90 days, which is why the police had been insisting upon carrying out tests on them.

The court in Fatehgarh Sahib said that the plea of the police did not qualify for issuing directions to Vijender for giving samples, and doubted if Section 27 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act could be invoked against the sportsman. No order can be passed merely on the asking of the investigation agency, observed Kuldip Singh, the Special Judge.

The boxer’s name had surfaced in the case following the seizure of 26 kg heroin from drug peddler Anup Singh Kahlon and his accomplice Kulwinder Singh, alias Rocky, in March. The heroin was recovered from a house in Zirakpur near Chandigarh.

The police had found a car registered in the name of Vijender’s wife parked near the house. Vijender’s sparring partner Ram Singh had admitted to experimenting with drugs, with Vijender joining in.

The court said that nothing was found in Vijender’s possession. Section 27 of the NDPS Act provides for a punishment if the person is found to be in illegal possession of drugs in a small quantity, argued Vijender’s counsel, adding that the Act could not be invoked since there was no recovery of any drug from him.

Vijender’s family has maintained that Vijender was being framed in the case. His brother Manoj said that they had been keenly monitoring the claims being made by various people. He said that the court direction dismissing the plea of the police was a welcome development. “My brother is clean,” he said.

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