Two Indian athletes Rakesh Babu and KT Irfan (both from Kerala) have been sent home from the ongoing Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Gold Coast, Australia for breaching the 'no-needles' policy of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
The CGF acted on a complaint made by the its medical commission on Thursday against members of the Indian squad competing at the Commonwealth Games.
According to the CGF, a needle has been found in the living quarters of the two athletes in the games village. The needle was reportedly found by a cleaner in a cup on the bedside table in a bedroom occupied by Irfan and Babu.
The duo have thus been sent home with immediate effect for suspected doping.
"The testimony of an incognitus cleaners operations manager as to the discovery of a needle in a cup on the bedside table in bedroom 2 of Apartment 7 in the Games Village occupied by Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi is credible.
"The testimony of the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) Principal Investigator as to the discovery of a syringe in the bag of Rakesh Babu found in Bedroom 2 which said bag Rakesh Babu admitted to be his property is credible," the CGF said in a statement on Friday.
"Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the No Needle Policy in that they failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy and, in particular, failed to ensure compliance with paragraphs I, II, III and IV of the No Needle Policy.
"Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games," the statement added.
"The accreditation of Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi was suspended with effect from 09:00 hours on April 13, 2018. Both athletes were removed from the Games Village. We have asked the Commonwealth Games Association of India to ensure both athletes depart Australia on the first flight available."
Babu had reached the final of the men's triple jump. He had finished fifth in Group A on Thursday with a best attempt of 15.98 metres to advance as one of the 12 best performers.
Irfan had finished 13th in a field of 15 athletes in the men's 20 kilometre race walk.
Asserting that the two athletes could not offer a satisfactory explanation, the CGF also reprimanded the Indian officials for their negligence.
"The testimony of athletes Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi who denied all knowledge of the needle in the cup in Bedroom 2 and the further testimony of Rakesh Babu that he had no knowledge of the syringe found in his bag in Bedroom 2 are both unreliable and evasive," the CGF statement read.
"Notwithstanding the explanations given to the Court as to the actions taken to communicate the CGF regulations and policies to team managers, Chef de Mission Vikram Singh Sisodia, General Team Manager Namdev Shirgaonker and athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhry, they failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy.
"In the circumstances: The CGF shall issue a strong reprimand to Sisodia, Shirgaonker and Chaudhry that they and other persons failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy. The CGF shall advise Sisodia, Shirgaonker and Chaudhry that any further infractions by any member of the Indian team of the No Needle Policy could result in the withdrawal of accreditation of the offending person," it added.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said Irfan should be spared since the needle was found among Babu's belongings.
"A lot of confusion in the whole episode. Our question is why did they ban Irfan if the syringe was found in the bag of another athlete. There were 6 athletes in the apartment. Take action against Babu since it was found against him, but why Irfan. There's confusion," the IOA said in a statement.