Updated June 3rd, 2024 at 21:58 IST

ADDP revokes Bajrang Punia's suspension till NADA issues Notice of Charge

NADA had suspended Tokyo Games bronze medallist Bajrang on April 23 and subsequently the world governing body UWW also took similar action.

Bajrang Punia | Image:AP
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The National Anti-Doping Agency's Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) on Monday revoked the provisional suspension imposed on Bajrang Punia till NADA issues a Notice of Charge to the wrestler, who had refused to provide his sample for dope test after the selection trials in March.

NADA had suspended Tokyo Games bronze medallist Bajrang on April 23 and subsequently the world governing body UWW also took similar action.

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The trials to pick the men's national team for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek were held in Sonepat on March 10 and Bajrang had walked off the venue without providing his urine sample after losing a bout.

He did not compete in the 3rd-4th place bout.

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Bajrang had challenged the provisional suspension through his lawyers and reiterated in his reply to ADDP that he never refused to provide sample but just wanted to know why NADA has not replied to his earlier query on action taken by the National Anti-Doping Agency for sending expired kit to take his sample in December 2023.

"The hearing panel is of the opinion that at this stage when Notice of Charge is yet to be issued to the Athlete and without going into the merits of the submission/explanations/justifications given by the Athlete for refusing to give the sample and counter the submission of Ld. Counsel appearing for the NADA, the provisional suspension of the Athlete is revoked till NADA decides to issue Notice of Charge formally charging the athlete for violation of Anti-doping rules, 2021," the ADDP order, a copy of which is with PTI, said.

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It remains to be seen if NADA pursues the matter further and decides to issue Notice of Charge to Bajrang.

If the Notice of Charge is not issued, the matter will be closed and if it is issued, a final hearing will be conducted.

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"The Hearing Panel is of the opinion that that it is premature to go into the merits and demerits of the submission made by both the parties as Notice of Charge specifying the charges against the Athlete are yet to be issued by the NADA.

"Therefore, at this stage, when only notification is issued, the Panel cannot embark upon the enquiry regarding the allegations thereby examining the issues touching upon the merits of the case and making the procedure prescribed under Article 8 of the Anti-Doping Rules, 2021, as redundant." Bajrang's lawyer Vidushpat Singhania told PTI that his client is now free to compete.

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"This is an interim order but Bajrang is free to compete," Singhania said.

"Let's see if Notice of Charge is issued. Prima facie the panel feels that Bajrang has an explanation for his refusal," he added. 

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Published June 3rd, 2024 at 21:58 IST