Rave revelry sinks Rahul and Parnell

Rahul Sharma at the press conference post the rave party where he claimed he was innocent

On the eve of India’s first One-day-International against hosts Sri Lanka in Hambantota, the Indian camp was rattled as Rahul Sharma faced possible arrest after the Mumbai Police on Friday implied that the legspinner was among the people who tested positive for consumption of drugs in a rave party in May.

South African cricketer Wayne Parnell, who too plays for Pune Warriors India in the Indian Premier League, was also among the 42 people who have tested positive for drugs, the police sources said.

Additional commissioner of police Vishwas Nangre Patil said at a press conference here on Friday that 42 out of the 44 people have tested positive for drugs in the sensational Oakwood party case.

While Nangre Patil did not take names of Sharma and Parnell, it could be easily be inferred from his statement that the two players had consumed drugs as he said that two who have tested negative for drugs are women.

“Only two of the 44 detainees have tested negative and both are women,” said Nangre Patil, refusing to divulge identities of the people who have tested positive.

Nangre Patil added that out of the 44, 35 people have tested positive for cannabis, three for cannabis and cocaine and four for cannabis and MDMA ( Ecstasy).

Police sources said that Sharma has tested positive for the consumption of cannabis. However, Nangre Patil refused to confirm this.

Sources said that the reports were sent by the Forensic Sciences Laboratory ( FSL) in Kalina, Mumbai, on Friday. The samples were taken from the detainees who had been taken to the Bhabha and JJ hospitals.

Earlier, the police had received the first set of test reports of 46 detainees out of which 44 had tested positive. They included actor Apurva Agnihotri, model- cum- cricketer Angad Bedi, son of former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, and fashion designer Rocky S. The BCCI, meanwhile, reacted by saying that it would not jump the gun and penalise Rahul without conducting a proper investigation.

“I don't know why everyone is in a mood to execute Rahul Sharma without even going into the details. The BCCI will first procure each and every bit of relevant information and then study them before deciding on the course of action,” Srinivasan told PTI. Former captain Sourav Ganguly termed the incident disappointing. “ I don't think it was a performance enhancing drug for which he should be punished. I think it was of those strange incidents, one unfortunate incident which should not cost him his India place,” he said.

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The Indian camp tried to put up a brave front a day ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka – the new season’s first international match, following an unusually long rest for Indian cricketers.

Indian team’s media manager Ravi Jain said that they have not received any communication in this regard from the BCCI. “ We have not received any communication from BCCI, So, it would not be proper for me to comment this at this stage,” he said.

Jain also declined to comment whether the spinner would be fielded in Saturday’s match in the wake of the development.

Earlier, Parnell had claimed that he and fellow Pune Warriors teammate Rahul were innocent and that they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Rahul too had said that he was innocent and if found guilty he would quit cricket.

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