India institutes probe into doping controversy

Aug. 13, 2008, 8:12 a.m. (ET)

NEW DELHI (AP) India's sports ministry has set up an investigation into how weightlifter Monika Devi was deprived of her Olympic berth by a doping accusation that was soon revoked.

The Press Trust of India reported Wednesday that a top retired bureaucrat, T.S. Krishnamoorthy was appointed by the government to head a probe into the Devi exclusion.

Devi, who was India's lone entry in Olympic weightlifting, was preparing to fly to Beijing on Aug. 5 when she was prevented from taking the flight due to a supposed doping offense. It was initially reported she tested positive for an anabolic substance.

The Weightlifting Federation of India cleared Devi of any wrongdoing and appealed to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which then cleared her of doping charges. However the reprieve came too late for Devi, as the Indian Olympic Association had already withdrawn her Beijing entry.

Devi claimed she was framed by officials of the government-run SAI, who were disappointed she was selected for Beijing ahead of their preferred lifter.

Krishnamoorthy was asked to submit his inquiry report within seven days.

Indian weightlifting has been hit by a series of recent doping scandals, with three lifters banned since May. Repeated violations had caused India to twice be banned from international competition since the 2004 Athens Olympics.