Former ATK Mohun Bagan footballer Ashutosh Mehta suspended for doping
Former India international Ashutosh Mehta has been banned by National Anti-Doping Agency for use of morphine during an ISL game.
Ashutosh Mehta, a defender for ATK Mohun Bagan, failed a drug test earlier this year while competing for the football powerhouse ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League, and was given a two-year suspension by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP).
According to a directive from the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), morphine was discovered in Ashutosh Mehta's urine sample that was taken on February 8 in Goa during the match between Bagan and Hyderabad FC. Mehta was on the bench in that ISL game, which took place at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.
Mehta already accepted a voluntary provisional suspension beginning on June 24, 2022, and the suspension period will begin on that day.
The 31-year-old right-back pleaded during the hearing in his case that he was given the medication by a colleague to treat his physical ache, which he believed to be ayurvedic. After naming the teammate to obtain a lesser penalty, Ashutosh Mehta was given a two-year suspension.
Mehta pleaded that he did not have the intention to consume narcotic substances and he wanted the benefit of a substantial assistance clause. In his defence, he claimed that a teammate of his "allegedly administered him with opium, a source of morphine in the form of 'Kaala Daba' (literally translating to 'Black Medicine') in the pretext of it being an Ayurvedic Medicine".
It is held that the athlete has violated Art 2.1 and 2.2 of NADA ADR 2021. Furthermore, the panel is of the view that the anti-doping violation was unintentional," the panel headed by Chaitanya Mahajan said in the order. "We accordingly hold that the athlete is liable for a period of ineligibility of two years.
During the hearing, it was also mentioned that the teammate cited by Mehta tested negative for drugs during the dope test. The football player has the choice to challenge the ruling in front of the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) if he so chooses.
In March 2021, Ashutosh Mehta made his international debut for India against Oman while playing under coach Igor Stimac. He made just one appearance for the Indian senior team.
(With PTI Inputs)