BCCI not bound to lift Sreesanth ban

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BCCI not bound to lift Sreesanth ban
Indian cricketer (C) Shanthakumaran Sreesanth speaks to the media following the judge's pronouncement of the order discharging 36 accused in the IPL-6 spot fixing case.

Ergo, there's no logic behind demands made, including by former Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly, for lifting the ban on this players.

By Sunil K Vaidya

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Published: Fri 31 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 1 Aug 2015, 10:49 AM

Indian cricketer Santhakumaran Sreesanth and his accomplice may have jumped with joy when a judge of New Delhi's Patiala House Courts discharged the IPL2013 spot-fixing case but the court did not absolve them.
All three - Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila - have expressed their wish to return to the cricket pitch but Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna had to drop the charges in view of absence of 'appropriate substantial laws' not because they were 'not guilty'.
Ergo, there's no logic behind demands made, including by former Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly, for lifting the ban on this players.
This was not the first time players accused of fixing could not be put on trial. At the turn of the century, in the dubious match-fixing case involving former India skipper Mohammad Azahruddin, the court couldn't take action against the four players and the team physiotherapist due to lack of law. There has been no change in the situation. Therefore, the need, as observed by Judge Neena Bansal, is for the legislature to intervene and amend the law to prosecute match-fixers. So, in future, no such case is dropped for lack of law.
The Delhi Police had filed charges against Sreesanth, two more players and 39 others under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The law was introduced in 1999 to combat organised crime and terrorism.
There were other technical shortcomings in trying these players under the law. To invoke MCOCA there should be 'continuing unlawful activity', there should be at least two charge sheets in preceding ten years in regard to offence punishable with the sentence of three years or more and in which cognisance must have been taken by the court of competent jurisdiction.
Sreesanth did not have even a single criminal case registered against him prior to this case. Thus, charges under MCOCA could not be applied. Some blame Delhi police but in the absence of a law to punish match-fixers, they filed a case under MCOCA.
Being an independent body, any disciplinary action taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is independent to any criminal proceedings.
And, the judge also observed that the offence of match-fixing and betting is covered under the anti-corruption code of BCCI.
She clearly hasn't absolved them but tacitly approved BCCI's action when she noted that necessary penal actions were already sanctioned against the 'errant players' and other people.
The BCCI decisions, based on its independent disciplinary action, need not be altered following charges against the trio be dropped by the court.
In Sreesanth's case, the BCCI ban was not linked with any court order. Unlike a court of law, the BCCI anti-corruption unit would go by the odds against a player based on their own findings and not only by evidence.
An audio recording of a sting operation may not be acceptable to a court as proof. BCCI's inquiry committee, however, can accept it under its own anti-corruption laws.
Sreesanth and others, in my humble opinion, need no sympathy but the positive outcome of this case could be introduction of a new law to deal with match-fixers.
sunilvaidya@khaleejtimes.com



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