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SC clears way for police to invoke MCOCA against Sreesanth,others

The ASG said a probe under MCOCA cannot be initiated without prior sanction of a senior officer.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | November 20, 2013 1:29:12 am

The Delhi Police’s attempt to invoke MCOCA against cricketers S Sreesanth,Ajith Chandila,Ankit Chavan and others in the IPL spot-fixing case received a shot in the arm Tuesday with the Supreme Court staying the Delhi High Court order that had said no case under the stringent law was made out.

A bench of Justices TS Thakur and Vikramjit Sen stayed the impugned order of the High Court whereby it had agreed to hear an anticipatory bail plea of the alleged bookie Mohd. Shakil after underlining that the FIR registered in the case did not disclose offences made under MCOCA. Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) is a more rigorous law against organised crime where there is a bar against moving for anticipatory bail plea.

Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra,appearing for the police,contended that the HC order was erroneous,for it completely relied on the FIR lodged in April when no charge under MCOCA had been invoked. He pointed out that MCOCA was invoked two months later after subsequent investigations disclosed commission of organised crimes by more than two dozen accused,including cricketers and bookies. The ASG also said that a probe under MCOCA cannot be initiated without prior sanction of a senior police officer.

Urgent stay

Luthra requested for an urgent stay of the impugned order,claiming that the accused were taking advantage of the HC order by obtaining bail from the trial courts on the ground that no charge under MCOCA was made out against them. The trial court had granted bail to the cricketers and others on the primary ground that there was prima facie ‘not sufficient material’ against the accused to establish their “nexus” with organised crime syndicate.

Luthra also adduced before the bench a notification,ratified by the Delhi Lieutenant Governor,extending the provisions of MCOCA to Delhi. This notification had to be produced in view of the objection by Shakil’s counsel that MCOCA was a local law and had not been extended to the national capital. With regard to Shakil,the ASG said that he was an absconder and non-bailable warrants were already issued against him.

Accepting his submissions,the bench stayed the impugned HC order and issued notice to Shakil,seeking his response to the challenge made by the Delhi Police. The court also told his counsel that Shakil could surrender and seek regular bail if he deemed so appropriate.

Admission of the police’s plea will give it another opportunity to justify its decision to slap charges under MCOCA for being involved in organised crime syndicate operated by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel after the trial court and the HC have felt otherwise.

‘Hope wedding will help lift the gloom’

Wedding bells toll for the ‘bad boy’ of Indian cricket. Former India international Sreesanth,who was handed a life ban by the BCCI on September 12 for his alleged involvement in the IPL spot-fixing scandal,will marry his long-time fiancee Bhuvaneshwari — ‘Nain’,as Sreesanth’s family calls her — on December 12. “Yes,after a long time we will smile. I’m very happy that he’s going to start a new life,” Sreesanth’s mother Savitri Devi told The Indian Express. Sreesanth’s brother Dipu Santhan said: “Hope this wedding will help lift the gloom,” he said. Sreesanth and Nain,a fashion designer and daughter of a diamond merchant have been a couple for six years. ENS

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