NEW DELHI: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has appealed the decision of the National Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (NADAP) in the Geeta Rani doping case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Lausanne.
Geeta, gold medallist in the +75kg category at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, had tested positive for a steroid at the National Games in Kerala in 2015. She was given a two-year suspension by a disciplinary panel in April, 2016. That decision was upheld by the NADAP, headed by Justice G.C. Bharuka, in July this year.
A slight hitch has arisen with the WADA appeal at CAS since Geeta has expressed her inability to pay the arbitration costs in advance as stipulated by the CAS procedural rules.
Accordingly, and as per CAS rules, CAS has asked WADA to make an “additional payment” of 3,000 Swiss francs (approx. ₹2 lakh) in each of the three appeals it has filed in the Indian lifter’s case.
“The appeal will be deemed withdrawn” in case WADA does not make the payment within the stipulated time limit.
It would seem the other ‘respondent’ in the case, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has also not paid its share of the advance arbitration costs. Otherwise, for Geeta alone, the cost would have been 1,500 Swiss francs for each of the three appeals.
WADA was advised to file a “common appeal brief” for the three appeals last month but it has apparently not done that, necessitating the cases being listed as three separate ones.
WADA was reportedly ready to file its appeal with CAS after the disciplinary panel decision but held it back at the request of NADA which informed that the national-level appeal panel was going to hear an appeal by the athlete to reduce her two-year sanction.
As per the decision of the NADAP, Geeta had become eligible to compete again from 12 April, 2017 after having completed the two-year sanction imposed by the disciplinary panel, headed by lawyer Jasmeet Singh.
Geeta had tested positive for methandienone in the National Games. Going by the revised WADA Code of 2015, a steroid violation carried a standard four-year suspension unless an athlete was able to prove that the ingestion of the drug was unintentional.
It may be noted here that the case took more than a year to be decided at the disciplinary panel stage and another one year and two-and-a-half months after appeal. Now there is another appeal pending after she has completed her two-year suspension.