An angry Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, pointed fingers at “lower level officials” of National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) for colluding with alleged rivals of banned wrestler Narsingh Yadav.
Singh accused the officials of not furnishing details of the complaint received by them, allegedly emailed by an unknown person from Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre, Sonepat, on July 4, following which another test on Narsingh was carried out on July 5.
“Had we received a copy of this complaint earlier, we could have furnished it as evidence during the court of arbitration hearing in Rio, held after World Anti Doping Agency appealed against NADA’s clean chit to the Indian wrestler,” said the WFI president. He said WFI and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had absolutely no time to prepare or furnish all possible evidences which could have helped the wrestler from evading the four year ban.
According to Singh, the email from an unknown ‘Ramesh’ had indeed been received by NADA and was only made public during the hearing by the Indian anti doping agency to WADA. However, the timelines and the conspiracy alleged by WFI do have some inconsistencies.
In what was a slap on NADA's face, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) had rejected the disciplinary panel’s decision that Narsingh was a victim of a conspiracy as there was no concrete proof suggesting the same and concluded that such high level of methandienone—the banned substance—could only be present by taking two to three tablets orally rather than from a drink in which the powder was mixed, as Narsingh had claimed before the NADA panel.
The wrestler was handed the ban by CAS a day before he was to compete in the 74kg category at the recently concluded Rio Olympics.
“This is why WFI demands a CBI investigation because we believed and continue to believe that Narsingh Yadav had been set up by those who didn’t want him to go. CAS didn’t believe our plea because no action or enquiry had taken place. They said if it was a criminal conspiracy, where is the action on the same?” said Singh. He also blamed the delay in enquiry and lack of action by Haryana government for the wrestler's fate.
The CA in its decision said, “The panel found (the) sabotage theory possible, but not probable, and certainly not grounded in any real evidence.”
“ I can assure you a CBI probe will take place...This is important because it is in the interest of not just Narsingh but all sportspersons as you don’t want such conspiracies to be repeated,” said Singh.
Narsingh has got a rare window still to prove his innocence. In its statement, WADA said, “In case, any evidence in relation to the sabotage theory is rendered at a later stage by a criminal court in India, then the decision could be reviewed by the Supreme Court in Switzerland”. Hence, the CBI enquiry is of extreme importance for not just Narsingh, whose career can well end if the four year ban remains, but also for WFI and its president who believe in Yadav’s innocence from the beginning.