The Kerala High Court lifted the ban on fast bowler S Sreesanth stating there was no evidence to ‘pinpoint’ his role in the IPL spot-fixing case. Here’s recalling the sensational arrest, the charges, the subsequent court cases and the acquittal.
During 2013 IPL, Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan are arrested in a midnight operation by the Delhi police for alleged spot-fixing in the IPL. Among others arrested are former Rajasthan Royals fast bowler Amit Singh and Sreesanth’s friend Jiju Janardhanan, who the police alleged was a conduit. The Delhi police charge cricketers and bookies under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) alleging the link goes all the way upto Dawood Ibrahim.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s disciplinary panel headed by its anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani bans Sreesanth and Chavan for life. Chandila receives a similar sanction later. The public prosecutor tells the court that there is evidence by way of phone conversations, that have been recorded, linking Sreesanth and other players to the bookies and D-Company and justify the invoking of MCOCA. The Delhi police’s chargesheet includes transcripts of these alleged coversations.
The chargesheet includes a phone conversation between Amit Singh and Jiju Janardhanan. On May 9, 2013, after the KXIP versus RR game, Amit is heard telling Jiju that the bookies were in the ‘minus’ because Sreesanth had conceded 13 runs instead of the pre-determined 14.
Amit: Minus mein hai yaar aapko pehle saaf bataya tha ki 13 bhi minus hai. 14 plus hi hogi toh fayada hai
Jiju: Haan, who baat sahi hai
Amit: Maine kaha ki usne mehenat kari hai kuch toh karo. Bola ki match ke baad karte hai. Maine kaha ki bande ne mehanat kari hai kuch toh karo.
Jiju: Sreesanth ne word toh rakha naa
Amit: Woh bol raha hai ki they lost. Joh session aaya tha uske hisaab se hota hai
Jiju: Nahi nahi koi doubt wali baat thi hi nahi. Tune pura match dekha kya?
Amit: Yeh bata tu mujhe tune Sree ko bataya tha kya?
Jiju: Sab kuch bataya tha, sab kuch clear tha… everything was clear yaar
Amit: Usne wide ball kyu nahi dala
Jiju: Usne last mein dala. Yaar usne wide ball par chowka mara… Gilchrist ne…
– The police also arrested Abhishek Shukla, a ‘friend’ of Sreesanth and Jiju. They alleged in the chargesheet that when Sreesanth and Jiju were arrested, Shukla had removed the proceeds of the spot fixing — Rs 5.5 lakh— from their room at Hotel Sofitel, Mumbai, and kept it with him.
Patiala House court
In July, 2015, Delhi’s Patiala House court dropped all charges, including the MCOCA against the cricketers in the IPL 6 spot-fixing case. The court had set aside the charge saying there was insufficient evidence to charge the cricketers under MCOCA, under which the police had sought punishments. Additional Sessions Judge Neena Krishna Bansal said: “no prima facie case in any offence including provisions of MCOCA is made out against the accused persons and they are entitled to be discharged.”
Kerala High Court
On August 7, The Kerala High Court lifted the life ban imposed on Sreesanth by the BCCI saying there was no incriminating evidence to pinpoint his involvement in match fixing. Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said in his order: “It is to be noted that there are is no incriminating evidence to pinpoint Sreesanth’s involvement in spot-fixing . It must be remembered that in every disciplinary action related to a player of national repute, the player suffers his repute and confidence which he built through hard work.”