Kochi: In a breather for former Indian Test player S. Sreesanth, Kerala High Court on Monday set aside the life ban on him imposed by BCCI after the controversial betting scandal. "If the evidence as a whole is appreciated, it can easily be concluded that Sreesanth had no direct link in spot fixing or betting," the court said. It held that there was no materials or evidence before the disciplinary committee to conclude that Sreesanth was guilty of the violation of the anti-corruption code formulated by the BCCI.
The panel relied on circumstantial evidence and it ought to have been careful while analysing evidence especially when the deal itself had failed to work out. The court further held that the BCCI ought to have found that there was no circumstantial evidence to indicate that Sreesanth had agreed for spot fixing.
While allowing the speedster's petition seeking to quash the decision of BCCI, the court said there was no incriminating evidence to pinpoint his involvement. "Having considered the nature of the deal made between Jiju Janardanan and bookie-Chandresh Chandubhai Patel, money could not have been retained with Jiju," it said "Once the spot fixing did not materialise, it was unbelievable that the bookie did not demand the return of the amount after the match. The conversation between Jiju and Patel clearly indicated that Sreesanth was not willing for spot fixing."
The court also noted that under the BCCI anti-corruption code, if the player has the knowledge of the subject of the bet, he is bound to report to the authority. Assuming that he had knowledge of such betting, the court is of the view that the punishment already suffered by him of four years of the ban from all format of cricket, is sufficient to meet ends of justice, it observed. It was equally important that he never attempted to dissociate himself with Jiju after the spot fixing scandal broke out. Jiju had an active role in the spot fixing and betting, but his role is ruled out because there is nothing to connect him.
However, Sreesanth having come to know that his own close friend dragged his name into the betting scandal, he should have publicly taken exception to the conduct of Jiju. The BCCI banned the Rajasthan Royals player after the IPL match on May 9, 2013, with Kings XI Punjab at Mohali. He faced charges of agreeing to concede 14 or more runs in the second over of his bowling spell, and the bookies offered him Rs 10 lakh....