The Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) of the NADA has revealed that it discovered an “important source” which illegally supplies prohibited substance to athletes at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium while investigating the case of decathlete Jagtar Singh. In what is claimed as the first instance of action against illegal suppliers of banned drugs on the assistance of an athlete, the ADAP of the National Anti-Doping Agency has blacklisted two such persons while reducing the suspension period of Jagtar by half from four years to two.

The ADAP blacklisted an unidentified athlete’s husband Puneet and another drug supplier Sunny Malik on the information provided by Jagtar, who was dropped from the Indian team for the Asian Athletics Championships in 2017 after testing positive for Meldonium.

Jagtar contended that he had consumed the food supplements provided by one Puneet, who is a regular supplement supplier at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and is also the husband of a Commonwealth Games participant. He said “the injectable substances had labels in foreign language, probably Russian”.

Based on the information provided by Jagtar, who was represented in the case by advocates Parth Goswami and Hemant Phalpher, drug inspectors of the Central Drugs and Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and the Delhi government, and officers of NADA apprehended Malik last year and recovered prohibited substances from him.

The ADPP held that the information provided by Jagtar “classifies as substantial assistance by the athlete under Article” of the NADA rules and hence his ban period was reduced to two years, half of the earlier four-year ban period handed by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

“The information provided by the athlete has certainly led to the discovery of a criminal offence under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, as also the discovery of a very important source of illegal/unlicensed supply of prohibited substance to athletes at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi which is a hub of national and international athletic sporting activity in India,” the ADAP, headed by senior advocate of the Supreme Court Vibha Datta Makhija wrote in the order of January 30.

“In view of the information disclosed by the athlete, we also direct NADA to blacklist and prohibit the entry of Mr Puneet and Mr Sunny Malik in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi and any other stadium/facility where the national or international sporting activity takes place.

“We also direct NADA to issue appropriate and prominent warning to be affixed on notice boards/websites of NADA and all sporting stadiums/facilities warning athletes and other persons about the discovery of prohibited substances from Mr. Puneet and Mr. Sunny Malik and/or the risk of procuring any supplies from them,” it added.

Jagtar’s counsel Phalpher said it was the decathlete himself who wanted to assist NADA in the case.

“We welcome this decision of the ADAP as it will encourage more athletes to come forward to assist the NADA,” Phalpher said.

“We had argued that the athlete deserved a reduction in the period of ineligibility as per NADA Rules since he has provided substantial assistance in the discovery of an offence under the laws of India,” he added.