India

Olympic boxer Vijender Singh 'took heroin'

Vijender Singh
Image caption Vijender Singh returned with a bronze from the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Police in India's Punjab state have said Olympics medal winning boxer Vijender Singh consumed heroin after procuring it from alleged drug smugglers.

Last month the police seized 26kg (57lbs) of heroin with a street value of 1.3bn rupees ($24m; £16m).

Fifteen people, including a Canadian-based Indian, have been held.

One of the arrested men allegedly said he sold drugs to the boxer, a charge which Mr Singh has denied.

The Punjab Police said in a statement that investigations had revealed that Vijender Singh "had consumed the drug [heroin] about 12-times and [his sparring partner] Ram Singh about five times" between last December and February.

The police also said that the boxer had spoken on the phone a number of times to the Canada-based Indian, who is being described as the main suspect,

Mr Singh, who also holds a job as a policeman in the neighbouring Haryana state, has denied the allegations.

However, according to reports, he refused to give samples of his blood and hair for forensic testing as part of the probe.

Most of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan and its main route into India is through Punjab, via Pakistan.

There have been a number of major drug seizures in Punjab, which itself has had a drugs problem for many years.

Two years ago a study by a university in Punjab suggested that as much as 70% of young Punjabi men were addicted to drugs or alcohol.

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