New Delhi: Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Monday hinted that Narsingh Yadav's prospects of participating at the Rio Olympics is virtually over but said the wrestler will be given a fair chance to defend himself.
Goel also made it clear that Narsingh's dope case will be dealt as per international rules with the strict implementation of the WADA Code.
In his introductory remark before a press conference, Goel said India be represented by 119 sportspersons (from earlier 120) in Rio Olympics.
"NADA is an autonomous body established under the WADA Code to promote clean sports and check doping. In Narsingh's case, we will ensure that WADA Code is implemented. We are committed to the WADA Code," he said while announcing the 'Run for Olympics' programme to be held at New Delhi on 31 July.
The run from the National Stadium to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Both of Narsingh's A and B dope samples have returned positive. He has been placed under provisional suspension and so we now have 119 athletes. That's why I said India will be represented by 119 athletes," the minister said when asked if Narshingh still has a chance to take the Rio bus.
"The NADA has disciplinary panels to deal with doping cases. He (Narshingh) will get a fair chance to defend himself and present his case before these panels. There will be justice under the rules and beyond that there is nothing much we can do in this case," said the minister who took charge this month.
Asked about his comments on Narsingh's allegation of conspiracy by others to frame him, Goel said, "He has not said it to us. We don't know."
On whether the government will agree to a probe on the issue as demanded by Narsingh, Goel evaded the question. "Law will take its own course and we cannot do anything. Let the NADA panels deal with the case and then we will see," he said.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel said the government will adhere to the World Anti-Doping code and will try to find a solution within its ambit.
"NADA is an autonomous body established under the WADA Code to promote clean sports and check doping. In Narsingh's case, we will ensure that WADA Code is implemented. We are committed to the WADA Code," he said at a press conference.
"The NADA has disciplinary panels to deal with doping cases. He (Narsingh) will get a fair chance to defend himself and present his case before these panels. There will be justice under the rules and beyond that there is nothing much we can do in this case," said the minister who took charge this month.
"Both of Narsingh's A and B dope samples have returned positive. He has been placed under provisional suspension and that is why I said India will be represented by 119 athletes," the minister said when asked if Narshing still has a chance to take the Rio flight.
The WFI President, meanwhile, revealed that Narsingh was warned by Sports Authority of India (SAI) DG Injeti Srinivas against going to Sonepat for the camp but the grappler chose to ignore the caution.
"After Haryana police gave a report that Narsingh is in danger, SAI DG personally requested Narsingh not to go to Sonepat and practice somewhere else. But he refused, saying that the chief coach, foreign coach and other Rio probables are there. And he would also get sparring partners easily," said Singh.
"I feel DG SAI was right in giving him a warning. But since nothing like this had ever happened earlier, we also did not take the warning too seriously," admitted Singh.
Asked if someone would replace Narsingh for the Rio games if he is not cleared of the charges on Wednesday, Singh said: "WFI will consult with the chief coach and take his opinion on who is fit to go. In India, we have a huge talent pool and I am sure someone good can replace Narsingh."
The 26-year-old Narsingh, who would be pleading innocence in front of the NADA panel that is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, is hopeful that he would be able to convince the committee members that the entire episode is a conspiracy.
"I am hopeful that everything will be clear soon. I have got the 100 per cent backing of everyone. I am still hopeful of going to Rio," 26-year-old wrestler said.
Top Sports Authority of India officials were furious that Narsingh has talked about a conspiracy to frame him after both his samples returned positive for anabolic steroid. They said that Narsingh's case is an open and shut case.
"What does he mean by conspiracy? All food supplements provided at SAI Centers are given after testing and that too by the federations. Does he mean to say that SAI is involved in contaminating the supplements with banned substances?" an official asked.
"He is in the dock now and he should first prove (that he is innocent) himself and then say all these things like he has been framed and there was a conspiracy," the official said.
"Every athlete who has tested positive in the past has claimed that they are innocent and they are being framed. It is not new. We will see what the NADA disciplinary panel decide," added the official.
The official said "as of now, Narsingh has no chance to go to Rio Olympics. It is an open and shut case. We have seen these kind of cases earlier. The (WADA) rules are very strict and it is very difficult to prove innocence in such cases."
"Likewise, there is also no chance for Sushil Kumar to represent India in Rio. It is over, the deadline for sending entries is over. India will not be represented by any wrestler in the 74kg freestyle."
Asked if there could be any swapping of dope samples, the official said, "I don't think this can happen. If he thinks it can happen, and if he writes to us officially alleging that it could happen, we have to do a DNA test and we are not saying that we will do it or not. But he has to first tell us that officially."
The official also rubbished Narsingh's allegations against a top SAI functionary at the Sonepat Center.
"He (Narsingh) has not informed or written anything (against any SAI official) earlier when he thought there was something happening. But he is making a complaint just now, after the dope case."