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Partly allowing the appeal of cricketer S Sreesanth, the Supreme Court today set aside the life ban imposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) on him for indulging in spot-fixing during 2013 Indian Premier League.
A bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and KM Joseph said the disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may reconsider within three months the quantum of punishment to be given to Sreesanth. The bench made it clear that Sreesanth will get the opportunity of being heard by the committee on the quantum of the punishment. The apex court also said that its verdict shall have no effect on the criminal proceedings pending against the former cricketer in the Delhi High Court, where the Delhi Police has challenged a trial court's order discharging all accused, including Sreesanth, in the IPL spot-fixing case.

"The Supreme Court has given me a lifeline and it has helped me restore my dignity," said Sreesanth in reaction to the apex court's decision. "I have started to practice and hopefully I will be able to start playing cricket soon enough. I request the BCCI not to take all 90 days to take a decision on the punishment for me.
"I have waited long enough, six years. I want to start by playing club cricket and I am hoping to play in the Scottish league, which starts in April," he added.


S. Sreesanth who was accused of involvement in 2013 IPL spot fixing incident claimed in Supreme Court that Life Ban imposed by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) on him is unfair. He also claimed that Delhi Police continuously tortured him to extract confession from him for his involvement in spot fixing.

Sreesanth, who was arrested and later discharged by a trial court here in July 2015 in a criminal case related to the alleged spot-fixing, claimed he had to confess his involvement in the alleged crime as police tortured him in custody and threatened to implicate his family in the case.

Sreesanth challenged the decision of division bench of Kerala High Court which upheld and restored the ban imposed by BCCI.

"In the context of facts and manner in which these things have happened, this court should consider that it (life ban on Sreesanth by BCCI) is unfair. He has suffered for the last five-six years. People want him to play cricket. He was extremely loyal to BCCI," senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Sreesanth, told the bench. Khurshid added that there is no evidence of Sreesanth’s involvement in the Spot Fixing and no evidence that he have received any money for that.

 Khurshid argued that as per allegations, Sreesanth was supposed to concede 14 runs in an over but he gave away 13 runs and the commentary during the match clearly reflected he had not bowled loose deliveries in that over.

He referred the case of Former Indian Captain Md. Azharuddin whose life ban was dismissed by Andhra Pradesh High Court and counted it illegal and unsustainable in law. He also referred to the cases of ban imposed on several international cricketers, including Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Danish Kaneria, Herschelle Gibbs, Mohammad Ashraful and Lou Vincent for their alleged roles in fixing matches.

Sreesanth had told the top court that he has offers to play English county matches and the life ban imposed on him by BCCI is "too harsh".

Appearing for BCCI, senior counsel Parag Tripathi told the court that for corruption and betting, the punishment is lifetime ban from the game.

Pointing to zero tolerance towards corruption and betting and also any act bringing disrepute to cricket, Tripathi told the court that at no stage, Sreesanth brought it to the notice of BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit about his being approached by bookies.


Wrapping up his rejoinder arguments, Khurshid urged the court to save the career of the "young cricketer, who is not that young now, but still retains the spirit of cricket."

From an article dated 01/03/2019

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