22-yr-old collapsed while running the 5-km race at police recruitment camp; cops recovered syringes from his bag, suspect use of performance-enhancing drugs
While doping may have taken the high-octane sporting world by storm where the pressure to perform is overwhelming, few would think that a constabulary job with the Mumbai police would tempt any to artificially induce a biochemical high. But the practice seems to be filtering through to aspirants for the lower rungs of the police pecking order. What else could explain a 22-year-old candidate allegedly resorting to dope to win a race that promised him the trophy of a constable's post?
Hanumant Mahadev Kharat, originally from Pune, was found in possession of paraphernalia related to the use of performance-enhancing drugs at a recruitment camp at Khindi-pada in Bhandup on Monday. Considering that there is no dope test prior to such recruitments, Kharat's sin would have remained under wraps had he not collapsed close to the finishing line after his blood pressure shot through the roof.
Currently admitted at the Sion hospital, Kharat was one of many candidates who queued up for the 5,000 m race at the camp -- part of the recruitment drive for filling the 3,467 vacant posts of constables which started last month.
At 180 beats/min
Just before he was about to touch the finishing line, Kharat, along with a few other candidates, collapsed. The episode did not raise the alarm -- it is a common enough occurrence at such recruitment camps.
"It was not an unusual sight, since many candidates not used to long runs collapse. So, we rushed these candidates for treatment to the first aid centre as we normally do," said an officer tracking the race, requesting anonymity.
However, while the other candidates recovered with medication, Kharat's deteriorating health became a cause of concern. The officer further said that an ECG had to be done on Kharat, which revealed that his heart rate was around 180 beats per minute, whereas an average adult's ranges between 60-100 beats a minute.
Finally, cops had to rush him to Mulund General Hospital at Dr RP Road. "We suspect he may have used performance-enhancing drugs," the officer said.
"While the candidate was rushed to the hospital, we searched his baggage and found two syringes. We are yet to figure out what those syringes are meant for," confirmed Deputy Commissioner of Police Manoj Lohiya, who has been assigned on police recruitment duty.
Meanwhile, doctors at Mulund hospital examined Kharat and shifted him to Sion hospital for further treatment.
Kharat's brother, Sandeep, who is attending to him at the hospital, said, "He got a cramp on his right leg while he was on the verge of finishing the race, and he collapsed on the ground. The police officials informed our family and we immediately came to the city."
No charges yet
Though doping makes for a grave offence in sports, police recruitments are a grey area and cops are yet to decide whether the candidate can be booked.
"In such a case, we can book the candidate only if he has injected any psychotropic substance. If it is any other drug, there is no provision to book him on the charges of doping. He is also not applicable for misrepresentation," an officer said on the condition of anonymity.