Coming as a huge relief for cricketer S Sreesanth, the Supreme Court on Friday revoked the life ban imposed on him by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and asked the board to revisit the quantum of punishment given to him within 3 months.
Sreesanth has been facing a life term ban since his name surfaced in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the Indian Premier League in 2013.
A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, asked the BCCI to reconsider its order of life ban imposed on Sreesanth saying that the life ban is “too harsh.” However, the Bench made it clear that the order shall have no effect on criminal proceedings pending against the former cricketer.
The cricketer said he has suffered the ban for four years now though being acquitted by a Delhi court in the sensational 2013 spot-fixing case in 2015. He had in his last hearing in SC on January 30 said, that the bookie tried to drag him into spot-fixing but he did not fall for it.
He had earlier argued how the life ban given to other cricketers was reconsidered eventually.
“Mohd. Azharuddin (former India captain) was overturned. Pakistan’s Salim Malik got a life ban but it was overturned. Hansie Cronje was given life ban but he died in a plane crash when proceedings were not closed,” senior advocate Salman Khurshid, for Sreesanth, had submitted to the court.
Khurshid had further argued that the cricketer is now 35 years of age and if the ban is not revoked, he will not be able to play club cricket in the United Kingdom for which he has two-three offers.
The Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth, along with cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and others on charges of spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013. As many as 36 accused in the spot-fixing case, including Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila, were let-off by a Patiala House court in July 2015.
The BCCI had however refused to alter its disciplinary decision of life ban even after the verdict.
The cash-rich IPL has always been encompassed by gambling controversies since it began in 2008. Last year Bollywood actor and film-maker Arbaaz Khan confessed to involvement in betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Further grilling had routed this controversy to have links with Karachi-based terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.
In fact, it was also alleged that Sunanda Pushkar was going to reveal muddle IPL dealings before she died mysteriously. This was in connection with the IPL scam of the Kochi Tuskers, a Kerala franchise which was accused of money laundering in the name of ownership.