ATK Mohun Bagan defender Ashutosh Mehta was banned for two years by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) for failing a dope test while playing for the football giants during Indian Super League earlier this year.
According to National Anti-Doping Agency, morphine was found in Ashutosh's urine sample that was collected during Began vs Hyderabad FC match in Goa on February 8.
Notably, the ISL match was played at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa and Mehta was an unused substitute. According to reports, the 31-year-old right-back pleaded that he was administered the substance via medicine which he assumed to be ayurvedic by a teammate in order to recover from body pain.
Mehta was handed a two-year suspension after he named the teammate in order to get a reduced sanction. However, the teammate named by Mehta returned negative during the dope test and the footballer has the option to appeal against the decision before the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel (ADAP) if he wishes to do so.
Speaking of Ashutosh Mehta, the right-back made his India debut under coach Igor Stimac in March 2021 against Oman. The match ended 1-1 and that remains his sole appearance for the Indian team. Mehta played as a right-back at the club level for Mohun Bagan last season and made 15 appearances.
Notably, this was the third stint with the Kolkata club as he earlier represented ATK in 2017-18 season and then for Mohun Bagan in I-league in 2019-20. The defender has featured in all ISL seasons since its inception in 2014. Mehta has also appeared for Pune City FC in the inaugural season of ISL and went on to play for Mumbai City FC between 2015-17.