Chandigarh, April 3 (IANS) The Punjab Police Wednesday arrested boxer Ram Singh in connection with the recent recovery of huge quantity of heroin and other drugs worth nearly Rs.500 crore in the state. Police had, last month, busted an international drugs racket operating from the state.
Ram Singh is a fellow boxer and former room-mate of Olympic bronze medal winner and star boxer Vijender Singh. Police earlier claimed, based on Ram Singh's statements, that he and Vijender had consumed heroin five and 12 times respectively in recent months (December 2012 to February 2013).
The union sports ministry Monday asked the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to carry out a test on Vijender following the latest drugs controversy around him. The blood and urine tests were conducted Wednesday.
"The Fatehgarh Sahib police today arrested boxer Ram Singh in the drugs case already registered against international smugglers Anoop Singh and others. He is the 16th accused who has been arrested in this case," a Punjab police spokesman said here Wednesday evening.
Police investigators said Ram Singh, who had been questioned several times by them in the drugs case, was arrested after huge quantities of lifestyle drugs and raw material for these drugs were recovered from his brother-in-law Ravi Deol.
"He (Ram Singh) was summoned to join investigation in this case after the name of Ravi Deol surfaced in this case and heavy recovery of drugs (5 kg Ice and 90 kg Pseudophedrine) was made from his parental house in Sangrur. Ram Singh was continuously in touch with Ravi Deol who is a proclaimed offender and a smuggler," the police spokesman said.
However, family members and some fellow boxers claimed that Ram Singh had been illegally detained by Punjab Police for the past nearly a month without formally arresting him or taking him into custody.
"During intensive questioning it was found that Ram Singh has deeper connections with the smugglers and necessitated his custodial interrogation," the police spokesman said.
Fatehgarh Sahib police made its first seizure of over 28 kg heroin, worth Rs.130 crore in the international market, March 7 from Zirakpur town on the outskirts of Chandigarh.
It then made more seizures of lifestyle and party drugs. Based on international prices for these drugs, police said the haul was valued at Rs.484 crore.
On Sunday, the police recovered 10 kg of party drug Ice (methamphetamine) and 230 kg of raw material (pseudophedrine) from which it is made. The latest seizures were made from Panchkula (near Chandigarh), Patiala and Sangrur.
"During investigation, it has been established that boxers Ram Singh and Vijender Singh took heroin from (arrested Canada-based drug dealer) Anoop Singh Kahlon and Rocky for personal consumption between December 2012 and February 2013," the police claimed.
Ram Singh, a constable, has been dismissed from the Punjab Police since it was established that he frequented the smugglers and procured heroin from them. Vijender Singh is a deputy superintendent of police (under training) with Haryana Police.
The police said that the drugs were being exported abroad to Britain, Canada and Holland by this group of narcotic smugglers through Kulwant Singh, a British national, who was earlier arrested in this case from Delhi March 19.
Police also found a SUV, registered in the name of Vijender Singh's wife Archana, parked outside Kahlon's flat from where the first seizure was made. Kahlon reportedly told the police that Vijender and fellow boxer Ram Singh were his "clients".
Punjab Police have already questioned Vijender.
Two Canadian and one British national (all of Indian origin) have been arrested in the case so far.