The government took the decision after a detailed investigation showed that the athlete had failed a dope test in 2008.
"The Committee for selection of awardees for the Arjuna awards 2013, selected Shri Renjith Maheshwari, Athlete for conferment of the award in 2013. However, before the award could be given, the Ministry came across news reports that Shri Maheshwari had been found guilty of a dope related offence.
"Since such individuals cannot be granted the Arjuna Award, the Ministry decided to keep the award to Shri Maheshwari in abeyance, pending an enquiry into the allegations," the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said in a statement on Thursday.
"After detailed investigations, the Ministry has determined that Shri Maheshwari was found to have used a 'scheduled' substance (ephedrine) during the 46th National Athletic Championships at Kochi in 2008.
"The sample was collected on 08 September 2008 and given to the National Dope Testing Laboratory on September 15, 2008. NDTL on 03 October 2008 analysed the A-sample of Shri Maheshwari and reported levels of ephedrine far above the expected levels, even when ephedrine is consumed for therapeutic purposes.
"Shri Maheshwari had not report using ephedrine for medicinal purposes during the collection of the sample," the Ministry said.
Maheshwari was suspended by the AFI pending enquiry.
The case was heard by the enquiry committee of the AFI and Maheshwari was given an opportunity to present his case as well.
Maheshwari did not request for an analysis of his B-sample.
The Ministry said: "On 10th January 2009, Shri Maheshwari was awarded a punishment of a ban for 3 months starting from 13.10.2008. Shri Maheshwari was also disqualified from the said championships.
"This was communicated to him by the Director of the Athletic Federation of India vide his letter No. F.7-4/AFI/MC/2009 dated 10 January 2009. A copy of the said letter is available with the Ministry."
"There is some doubt regarding the acceptability of the sample from Shri Maheshwari. It is possible that the report of the National Dope Testing Laboratory may not be an acceptable 'Adverse Analytical Finding' and that the chain of custody of the sample may not have been sufficiently foolproof," it said.
The Ministry has noted that Maheshwari has never protested against the findings of the enquiry committee or the punishment awarded by the competent authority.
"His acceptance of the punishment, despite the flaws in collection and analysis of the sample, has made the punishment final," the Ministry said.
The Ministry said it noted that Maheshwari has never been found guilty of using a performance enhancing substance since 2008.
This instance is the only instance, to the knowledge of the Ministry, in which Maheshwari has been involved in a doping related incident.
"Nevertheless, the rules for the Arjuna Awards are explicit. Any person who has been found to have used a prohibited or scheduled substance cannot be given the Arjuna award," the Ministry said.
It said: "The Ministry therefore, with considerable regret, announces that the Arjuna Award for 2013 will not be conferred on Shri Renjith Maheshwari."
--IBNS (Posted on 20-09-2013)