In a setback to the Delhi Police Special Cell investigating the IPL spot-fixing controversy,a city court on Thursday granted bail to Abhishek Shukla,reported to be a friend of cricketer S Sreesanth and bookie Jiju Janardhanan,on the ground that the only offence that was made out against him was of destruction of evidence,which is a bailable offence. The court also directed the special cell to file a detailed report listing the specific allegation against each of the 26 accused on June 4.
Meanwhile,a sessions court granted interim bail till June 6 to cricketer Ankeet Chavan for his wedding which is scheduled for June 2. Stating that the wedding had been fixed a year ago,the court said denying bail would mean that the would be bride and other relatives would also suffer because of no fault of theirs.
While Chavan was asked to submit a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh,he could not be released today since the formalities could not be completed on time. He is set to be released on Friday. Is marriage not a fundamental right within the right to live in the Constitution, observed the court.
Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan replied,”It can be a social right but not a fundamental right… We are not asking Chavan not to marry. They can postpone the marriage till the filing of the chargesheet.” Mohan said.
Chavan was liable for breach of trust and cheating since he had violated the contract with BCCI and the Rajasthan Royals. In the Shukla case,while hearing his bail plea,Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma told the police that his reported friendship with Sreesanth did not make him liable for prosecution for criminal conspiracy and cheating. “Is there any evidence that he was involved in the conspiracy?” he asked,adding that “only a prima facie offence of destruction of evidence could be made out against Shukla”.
The prosecution had alleged that Shukla went to Sreesanth’s Mumbai hotel room after the cricketer’s arrest and removed several articles. The police informed the court today that they had recovered Rs 5.5 lakh,allegedly given to Shukla by Sreesanth,and hotel bills paid on behalf of the pacer from Mumbai. In his arguments opposing the bail plea,senior additional public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said that any person entering into an active conspiracy was liable to be prosecuted as a co-conspirator. “He joined the conspiracy when he went to the hotel room with Jiju,and was also part of the conspiracy earlier when he paid Sreesanth’s hotel bills at the J W Marriott and travelled with him in Jaipur,” he argued. But the court dismissed the plea,stating that “paying bills or travelling with someone is not an offence”.
The police had arrested Shukla on Wednesday after interrogating him for over 24 hours. Shukla was taken to Mumbai for further investigations. While stating that they did not require further custody of Shukla,the police today asked the court to send him to judicial custody.
“What is the material to show that Shukla was part of the conspiracy?” asked the court,adding,”why should I send him to jail when the offence itself is bailable?”
Shukla was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety,after being directed to surrender his passport and not leave his residence without informing the investigating officer.
The court today also sent six other accused,including Hyderabad residents Syed Durrey Ahmad and Sunil Saxena,to judicial custody till June 4. At least seven accused,including Sreesanth,Jiju Janardhanan and Ashwini Aggarwal alias Tinku have filed bail pleas.
The fact that the president of the board may have a direct or indirect interest with a team cannot be ignored
Pune: Disgruntled with the way the Board of Control for Cricket in India has dealt with the spot-fixing and betting allegations in the IPL,the boards treasurer Ajay Shirke is considering stepping down from his post. The Indian Express speaks to the man who has held office since the day N Srinivasan became BCCI president in 2011. Excerpts.
How serious are the allegations against your employers,the BCCI?
The fact that the president of the board (N Srinivasan) may have a direct or indirect interest with a team cannot be ignored. On the seriousness,last years spot fixing issue was a sting operation. This years revelations by the police are very substantive.
In view of the ongoing scandal,have you thought of stepping down from your post as BCCI treasurer?
Yes. My reputation and personal integrity is paramount for me. I cannot let my reputation be tarnished. Seeing my resignation,some people might say that I am running away from the problem or that I am selfish. However,when the board is not discharging its primary responsibility,I will definitely consider my options over the next few days.
What is the primary responsibility of BCCI?
After every crisis/scandal of whatever magnitude,a working committee meeting or a general body meeting is called. In this meeting the relevant issue is discussed threadbare and the board comes out with a clearly worded statement. However,in this case there has been no working committee meeting that has been called and the media trial that has been happening is hitting the credibility of the board.
There has been personal contact between members of the board but with no working committee meeting being called,the position of the board is not being put forward.
What is your take of everything that is being said in the media?
Anybody and everybody seems to be coming on to television channels and without any knowledge of cricket administration call functionaries of sporting bodies hoodlums,incompetent,crooks. This is damaging the board.