The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it clear that the ban imposed by its disciplinary committee on S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan shall remain unchanged. In response to a Delhi trial court order which absolved the cricketers of spot-fixing and betting charges, the cricket board said in a statement: “Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal proceeding and has no bearing. The decisions of the BCCI, based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered.”
However, the board is yet to take a decision on Ajit Chandila, whose case is pending before the disciplinary committee even after two years have elapsed since the IPL spot-fixing case surfaced. On Saturday, though, sources in the board revealed that a disciplinary committee would look into the cases of Chandila and Mumbai Ranji cricketer Hiken Shah in the first week of August. Shah was recently suspended by the BCCI for breaching its anti-corruption code and making an “inappropriate approach” to a fellow player before the IPL.
Meanwhile, the BCCI’s decision to continue its ban on Sreesanth and Chavan does not come as a surprise. The board had also served a life ban on former India captain Mohd Azharuddin when the first match-fixing scandal surfaced in 2000. Back then even as the CBI conducted its own investigation and submitted a report to the Indian government, the BCCI appointed K Madhavan to carry out an inquiry — on behalf of the board — which later found Azhar and other cricketers like Ajay Jadeja guilty.
“In the case of Sreesanth and Chavan too we had appointed Ravi Sawani to probe the allegations and his report was placed in front of the BCCI’s disciplinary committee.
“They decided to ban Sreesanth and Chavan for life. In early 2000 when the CBI was conducting investigation into the match-fixing scandal, that time also the BCCI had appointed Madhavan to carry out a separate inquiry. Till date the BCCI’s stand remains the same on banned players,” a board official said.
Though the court has cleared their name in the IPL spot-fixing case, the BCCI is sure they will be not allowed to play cricket. However, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has welcomed the court order.
When contacted, MCA joint-secretary PV Shetty expressed satisfaction but said they will go by whatever the BCCI decides. “We are happy that our player (Chavan) has come clean. Now it is up to the BCCI to decide what to do. I haven’t read the complete order but am happy that the Mumbai player has come out clean,” Shetty said.
Curious case of Chandila
Regarding the delay in Chandila’s case, sources in the BCCI informed that it was intentional since the Mudgal committee was probing the IPL spot-fixing case. But it is reliably learnt that despite repeated reminders to former BCCI president N Srinivasan and secretary Sanjay Patel on the Chandila issue, they just sat on it.
“There was fear that if a disciplinary committee was called when the Mudgal committee was probing the matter, questions could be raised why Chandila was being punished and not Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra. The board felt it would weaken their stand in the court and so Chandila’s hearing kept getting delayed,” a top BCCI official said.