Shot putter Inderjeet Singh has been banned for four years for testing positive for anabolic steroids but the anti-doping disciplinary panel pulled up the National Anti-Doping Agency and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) for departures from standard protocol with regard to collection and analysis of samples.
“In respect of testing and analysis of samples, we are in agreement of submission give by the athlete,” the panel headed by chairman Manik Dogra said. “The purpose of having established procedures is to safeguard the integrity of the procedures as a whole, be it an issue of chain of custody, rectification/calibration of testing machines, any serious deviation in the process does raise uncomfortable questions on the quality of the testing process and the authenticity of its findings and results. The validity of transparency of the adverse analytical finding must be in our view beyond reproach,” the panel stated in its order.
Among issues the athlete raised through his lawyer Anish Dayal was the fact that the doping control officer (DCO) took the sample home and stored it in a regular refrigerator before taking it to the NADA office when it should have been handed over to the laboratory. Moreover, the athlete’s lawyer argued that there was no mention in the chain of custody form on how the DCO secured the ‘integrity’ and ‘identity’ of the samples during a 15-hour time lag in extreme temperature from the athlete’s home in Bhiwani to New Delhi. The fact that there were discrepancies in the volume when the sample was collected and sealed and when it reached the laboratory was also brought to the notice of the panel.
Inderjeet was one of the first athletes to qualify for the Rio Games, but was provisionally suspended on July 26, 2016 after he tested positive for banned substances — androsterone and etiocholanolone.
The three-member panel concluded that he has violated article 2.1 of anti-doping code. The panel, however, admitted that NADA and NDTL didn’t follow well known and established procedures. “We unfortunately conclude that there were departures in the analysis and collection of samples. We note neither NADA nor NDTL have owned up to the departures and forcefully contested these allegations. Without going into specifics of each deviation, we do not agree with submission of NADA. The procedure clearly deviated from WADA guidelines,” the panel stated.