Sree to Begin Second Innings

Indian cricketer Sreesanth

Court drops charges against Kerala-born ace cricketer Sreesanth and 41 others in the IPL spot-fixing scam ….reports Asian Lite News

Indian cricketer Sreesanth
Indian cricketer Sreesanth

A Delhi court on Saturday dropped charges against cricketer S. Sreesanth and 35 other accused in the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing case.

Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna discharged cricketers Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.

Delhi Police chargesheeted them for cheating and conspiracy under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. The entire case has been dropped due to lack of evidence.

On May 16, 2013, the Special Cell of Delhi Police carried out raids in Mumbai and arrested three Rajasthan Royals players – Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – on charges of spot-fixing. The special cell had named 42 accused in its charge-sheet.

During the arguments on framing of charges, the police had referred to telephonic conversations among players and bookies to establish their match-fixing and betting charges.

Sreesanth’s cricketing career took a nosedive after he was arrested on May 16, 2013 and sent to jail till June 11 in the wake of his alleged involvement in the match- fixing. He was served a life term ban from the game. Sreesanth, only the second Keralite to represent the country in international cricket, has represented the country in 27 Tests (87 wickets), 53 ODIs (75) and 10 T20Is (seven wickets).

The Police had also alleged that call detail records clearly reflect the linkage of accused persons who were part of a crime syndicate to generate money. The court had earlier declared underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel as proclaimed offenders as they are evading arrest in the matter.

“No regrets, no complains against anybody, god-willing I will return to cricket. Hopefully I can take permission from BCCI to use their facilities again and regain fitness,” Sreesanth told NDTV, who was in tears following the verdict.

“I know I have got movie offers but I am a cricketer first. I went through a lot. That’s all in the past. I would love to go to the national stadium tomorrow and just run there.

“I will make sure I am fully fit and bowl those outswingers again. I would like to thank my lovely daughter, wife and parents for their support,” Sreesanth told media outside the court in New Delhi.

“I have been saying charges (against Sreesanth) are false from Day 1. Today is proof that Delhi police wrongly framed the players,” said Sreesanth’s lawyer.

Sreesanth’s Rajasthan teammate Ankeet Chavan, who was also charged by the Delhi Police, said he was confident of coming back to cricket again.

Earlier on July 14, a Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years each due to betting. Team owners Gurunath Meiyappan (Chennai) and Raj Kundra (Rajasthan) were banned for life from cricketing activities in India by the panel.

Parents in tears

Parents of Sreesanth had tears of joy in their eyes  as TV channels announced their son had been exonerated of all charges.

There were some anxious moments at home as Delhi’s Patiala House court was supposed to take up the case in the morning but the decision was put off to 2 p.m and then to 4 p.m.

Just as the news began to come in that all charges against Sreesanth were being dropped, his parents stood up with folded hands before the media to thank everybody.

A beaming Sreesanth told reporters soon after coming out of the court: “I want to play cricket again and I wish that the BCCI gives me permission to use the facility to get fit again. I went through a lot of troubles. I am just waiting to bowl those outswingers.”

“Thanks to all and this is a reply to all those who made fun of me,” he remarked.

“Thanks to all and my wife and our child came as an angel. I just want to start again and am just waiting to run on the ground,” he said.

BCCI vice president and Kerala Cricket Association president T.C.Mathew described the news as “the best news to have come” and the KCA will ask the BCCI to revoke the life ban that was imposed on him.

“As a person known to me well, many had doubts that there was some deliberate attempt against Sreesanth. We will give him full support for his return to cricket. This is a belated exoneration,” said Mathew.

Delhi Police had invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the IPL match fixing case registered against Sreesanth and a few others in 2013.