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Maninder Singh, the former Indian left-arm spinner, was granted bail on Wednesday by a Delhi court for allegedly being in possession of 1.5 grammes of cocaine, an offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
On Tuesday, the narcotics branch of the Delhi police brought in Maninder for questioning after raiding his residence. "Maninder has confessed that he was a drug addict and consumed drugs to deal with family problems. He first took drugs 10 years ago in Holland," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics) AS Cheema told Indo-Asian News Service. The bail was granted on a personal surety of Rs.50,000 (approximately $ 1160).
An Associated Press report quoted police spokesman Rajan Bhagat as saying that local club cricketer Sayyam Siddique, who was with Maninder when police raided his apartment, was arrested for carrying 100 grams of contraband "charas" [hashish]. "They were arrested while exchanging the drugs. Maninder told us that he used to procure drugs from Siddiqui, who purchased them from a south Delhi based drug peddler," Cheema said.
The amount allegedly found in Singh's residence is less than a "commercial quantity" and puts the case in the category of possession of a banned substance for personal use, thereby increasing his chances of being granted bail. However, Bhagat said police were investigating whether Maninder kept the cocaine for his personal use or was involved in the drug trade.
Maninder, who played 35 Tests for India between 1982 and 1993, surged into prominence when only 17 years old. His prodigious talent prompted comparisons to Bishan Bedi, but consistency was to elude Maninder. He enjoyed tremendous success on India's tour of England in 1986, and then picked up a bagful of wickets against Pakistan and Sri Lanka at home, but soon after the wheels came off. Maninder had problems with discipline, lost the loop and control that were his strengths and was dropped from the team. He attempted more than one comeback but met with limited success.
Since retiring from cricket Maninder has been involved with the game as a coach in Delhi, where he lives, and as a television commentator. While Maninder is often remembered as a cricketer who promised much and lost his way, the one thing that he is most famous for was being the last Indian victim - given out lbw to Greg Matthews by umpire Vikram Raju - in the tied Test against Australia at Chennai in 1986-87.
Chetan Chauhan, the former India opener and Maninder's Delhi team-mate, told Indian news channel Aaj Tak: "I am completely surprised. I have played with him for Delhi, for two or three seasons. I had no inkling of any previous instances involving him. I can't believe this. "