He fails a dope test and is banned. But then, he claims his dal was spiked, and rumours start swirling of a top star hatching a plot to end his Olympics dream.
Nearly three years later, the CBI has quashed the sabotage theory proffered by wrestler Narsingh Yadav as his primary defence after failing a dope test days before the Rio Olympics, The Indian Express has learnt.
According to sources, the agency has now urged the Delhi High Court to dismiss the writ petition filed by Yadav in relation to his dope ban.
Yadav, who had been selected to represent the country in the 74-kg category, tested positive for the banned drug, methandienone, three weeks before the start of the 2016 Olympics. He is currently serving a four-year international suspension imposed by the World Anti Doping Agency.
In his defence, Yadav alleged his “meal/ drink” was spiked at the Sports Authority of India’s Sonepat Centre, where he trained. Yadav further claimed in his complaint, on the basis of which an FIR was lodged, that this was done as a result of a larger conspiracy involving “high-profile people” to stop him from participating in the Rio Games.
While he did not name anyone, it was widely believed he was indirectly pointing fingers at two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, his only competitor for the lone Olympics spot. The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) supported the sabotage theory, with the latter demanding a CBI probe.
In his complaint, Yadav claimed that a junior wrestler, Jitesh, had tried to spike his food on June 5, 2016, by sneaking into the kitchen of the SAI centre and adding a drug in the “tadka” of his dal. Chandan Yadav, Narsingh’s sparring partner who also prepared his food, and the mess staff noticed an unusual froth with green and white residue, it stated. Suspecting foul play, it said, they threw out the tadka. Yadav told investigators that Jitesh “must have” spiked his meal or drink, which led to the failed test.
The CBI interrogated Jitesh, who denied any involvement, sources said. The investigators also failed to get relevant CCTV footage since there was a 52-day gap between the day of the incident and in filing the FIR. Subsequently, the agency — along with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) — recreated the “scene of crime” on March 2, 2017 at Sonepat, as described in the FIR.
According to sources, Chandan was asked to prepare the tadka, and tablets of methandienone, which were procured from a Mumbai-based pharmacy, were added to it. However, they said, there was neither an unusual frothing nor any residue as claimed by Yadav.
The CBI, sources said, based its investigation on two primary aspects — the allegations of a rival spiking meal/ water and the observations of World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), which contradicted the wrestler and NADA’s claims.
The agency also took into account the wrestler’s statement before the anti-doping disciplinary panel of NADA, in which he accepted that he had failed to keep an eye on his amino drink during practice on June 23 and 24, the dates when the banned substance is believed to have entered his body.
This, sources said, was crucial since the anti-doping rules state that “it is each athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his or her body.”
On January 31, the agency submitted a status report along with an affidavit in a sealed envelope to the Delhi High Court. The final report on one of India’s most high-profile dope cases is likely to be filed this week.