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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's boxing pin-up boy Vijender Singh was ordered by the Indian sports ministry on Monday to take an immediate out-of-competition test after police said he had used heroin on several occasions.
Singh, whose middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics helped raise boxing's profile in India, landed in trouble after last month's $24 million drug haul in the northern state Punjab when a fellow boxer told the investigators he and Singh consumed heroin supplied by the drug dealer.
Singh has denied the allegation but Punjab Police on Sunday said the 27-year-old boxer had taken heroin on 12 occasions, prompting the sports ministry to ask the National Anti-Doping Agency to carry out a test on him.
"Such reports in respect of a sporting icon are disturbing and may have a debilitating influence on other sportspersons in the country," the ministry said in a statement.
"It has, therefore, been considered necessary that NADA gets a test carried out on Vijender Singh for his reported use of heroin even out-of-competition."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)