Sports Minister Jitendra Singh Saturday said his ministry has put the name of triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary on hold from the Arjuna Awards list until it conducts an inquiry into the doping allegations levelled against him.
Kerala-based Maheshwary missed Saturday's National Sports Day where he was to be conferred the Arjuna Award with 14 others. He made the decision following reports that he was ineligible for the honour considering he was handed a three month suspension for testing positive in the 2008 National Athletics meet in Kochi.
According to rules, a dope offender can't be chosen for the award.
"It is unfortunate that Maheshwary could not get the award even though he was here.We have asked NADA (National Anti Doping Agency) and AFI (Athletics Federation of India) to submit a report on the issue as soon as possible. Based on that, we will take e call. The issue should be sorted out Monday or Tuesday," he said.
Sports Secretary P.K. Deb added: "I am told he tested positive after taking a cough medicine. In my view, he deserves the award but we will have a thorough investigation done."
Earlier in the day, a dejected Maheswary decided to skip the function.
"There has been a news report in an English daily of me having failed a dope test before. Some vested interests are out to wreck my career and I will not go to receive the award," said a peeved Maheshwary.
His name was in the list released Friday of the awardees. The official announcement came earlier this month that he had been selected for the award.
The 27-year-old finished fourth at the 2006 Asian Games and won the 2007 Asian Championships. He also competed at the 2007 World Championships but did not reach the final.