Delhi Dynamos player Rana Gharami has been handed a provisional suspension by the National Anti-Doping Agency after he tested positive for a banned substance in a first such case involving an Indian Super League footballer, PTI reported.

The 28-year-old tested positive for prednisone and prednisolone metabolities during a test conducted during an ISL match in New Delhi on January 31. The defender from West Bengal, who played for Mohun Bagan in 2017-’18 before joining Delhi Dynamos in the 2018-’19 season, did not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption.

“[Gharami] has tested positive for a banned substance and his [provisional] suspension has begun from the time he got the letter [from NADA],” a BCCI official was quoted as saying.

“He has been asked to explain how and why the banned drug went into his system and he is expected to do that.”

NADA’s list of substances banned in competition include prednisolone and prednisone in section nine under glucocorticoids. Prednisone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, breathing problems, severe allergies, skin diseases, cancer, eye problems, and immune system disorders.

Gharami can either get his ‘B’ sample tested or accept the charge. If his ‘B’ sample also tests positive or he accepts the charge, he will have to face a hearing panel of the NADA, which will decide the quantum of punishment. He now stares at a possible ban of four years as this will be his first offence.