In­dian court lifts life ban on Sreesanth

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS - Cricinfo

Kochi, In­dia - In a re­lief to fast bowler Sreesanth, the Ker­ala High Court has or­dered the BCCI to lift the life ban on him for his al­leged in­volve­ment in the IPL spot-fix­ing scan­dal of 2013.

The order was is­sued af­ter he had moved the court chal­leng­ing the BCCI's de­ci­sion to not lift the ban de­spite his be­ing cleared by a Delhi trial court in 2015.

"Many peo­ple sup­ported me [through] thick and thin," the

Hin­dus­tan Times quoted Sreesanth as say­ing. "They stood with me. I am re­ally in­debted to them and I will not let them down."

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the Ker­ala High Court ob­served that the BCCI's re­fusal to lift the ban was a vi­o­la­tion of nat­u­ral jus­tice. Af­ter Sreesanth and two other Ra­jasthan Roy­als bowlers - Ankit Cha­van and Ajit Chandila - were ar­rested for al­leged ful­fill­ing prom­ises made to book­mak­ers in May 2013, they were banned for life by the BCCI.

The court's ob­ser­va­tions took into ac­count that in 2015 Sreesanth was ex­on­er­ated of spot-fix­ing charges by a Delhi

trial court due to in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence un­der the Ma­ha­rash­tra Con­trol of Or­gan­ised Crime Act (MCOCA), a spe­cial law passed by the Ma­ha­rash­tra state gov­ern­ment to tackle or­gan­ised crime syn­di­cates and ter­ror­ism.

The BCCI, though, is yet to make a de­ci­sion on al­low­ing his re­turn to cricket. The BCCI's act­ing pres­i­dent CK Khanna said the board's le­gal team would study the order and fur­nish a re­port on the mat­ter. "Once we get their opin­ion, we will take it up in the ap­pro­pri­ate fo­rum," Khanna told ESPNcricinfo. "There is no time frame as such but we will do it at the ear­li­est."

An­other BCCI of­fi­cial said the op­tion of an ap­peal to the Supreme Court couldn't be ruled out. "One has to see the order first. Be­fore that, any­thing is a mat­ter of con­jec­ture."

The BCCI's po­si­tion in the past has been to delink its de­ci­sions from any le­gal pro­ceed­ings. In 2013, the board's in­ves­ti­ga­tion, con­ducted by the BCCI's then anti-cor­rup­tion unit chief Ravi Sawani, only needed to fo­cus on the con­duct of the play­ers and not their al­leged con­nec­tions to or­gan­ised crime syn­di­cates. The BCCI's de­ci­sions were there­fore "in­de­pen­dent to any crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ing" and "based on its in­de­pen­dent dis­ci­plinary ac­tion, shall re­main un­al­tered."

As a re­sult, Sreesanth's re­quest for a no-ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate to play league cricket for Glen­rothes CC in Scot­land was shot down in Jan­uary. With a sim­i­lar re­quest hav­ing been de­nied the year be­fore as well, Sreesanth told ESPNcricinfo that he had not re­ceived any for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the BCCI. He last played of­fi­cial cricket dur­ing the 2013 IPL.


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