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Neeru Bhatia
Neeru Bhatia

clean chit

How this lawyer kept Narsingh Yadav's Rio dream alive

PTI8_1_2016_000247B Wrestler Narsingh Yadav coming out of NADA office in New Delhi on Monday | PTI Photo

Narsingh Yadav's first 'test' after he was put under a provisional ban by NADA was to not fall into the "traps" laid by his lawyer Vidushpat Singhania, during their meetings while preparing for the case.

Yadav aced these tests, which led Singhania, who specialises in dope related cases, to prepare an exceptional defence based on circumstantial evidence to prove that Yadav was the victim of sabotage.

"Yes. I did do that, but Yadav is mentally very strong and he maintained, right from the start, that he was innocent. That's when I believed he had been set up by someone," Singhania told The WEEK.

Narsingh, who had to fight off a legal challenge from double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to represent India in the 65kg category in Rio Olympics, was on Monday given a clean chit by the NADA disciplinary panel headed by a retired High Court judge. The panel cited rule 10.4 of the WADA anti-doping code to pronounce him clear of any violation and imposed no penalty, thus paving the way for Yadav to compete at the Rio Olympics.

After three days of hearing, the panel concluded that Yadav was a victim of sabotage by a rival.

On the last day of the hearing, the panel met two eyewitnesses independently and cross examined them.

"The panel wanted to question the two cooks of SAI Centre, Sonepat, who were presented as witnesses without the presence of lawyers from NADA and Yadav's side," said Singhania, who had to prepare defence for the case in a very short time.

“The eyewitnesses confirmed presence of the wrestler Jitesh, who allegedly spiked Yadav's food in the mess for two consecutive days preceding Yadav's test on June 25.”

“It was a case built entirely on circumstantial evidence,” he said. “These included examples like a perjury case against a certain individual who wanted to stop Yadav, media reports showing a threat to his life and report that on June 5 there was an attempt to contaminate his food.”

Singhania also proved to the panel that Yadav had never taken any other food supplement than the ones provided by Wrestling Federation of India and his sponsors JSW sports.

"All supplements provided by these two were tested prior to being distributed and came from established suppliers", said Singhania.

"They did not contain the banned steroid found in Yadav's urine samples tested on June 25 and July 5. The tests confirm the same. This left the finger of suspicion pointing towards some wrestler deliberately contaminating his food to prevent him from going to Rio,” he noted.

As per WADA rule, unless NADA or WADA appeals against the decision, Yadav's reinstatement as an official entry in 65kgs free style wrestling event is a mere formality.

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