Fast bowler Sreesanth will be challenging the life ban imposed by the BCCI for his alleged role in the IPL betting and spot- fixing scandal, his lawyer Rebecca John said on Sunday.
The BCCI disciplinary committee, based on a report by Ravi Sawani, on Friday banned Sreesanth and left- arm spinner Ankeet Chavan for life, pacer Amit Singh for five years and Siddharth Trivedi for one while letting off Harmeet Singh in the “absence of evidence against him”.
“Prima facie, a decision to challenge the ban has been taken,” Rebecca told Mail Today.
“You have to be stupid not to challenge such a decision.” Sreesanth and Rebecca are waiting for the BCCI order to arrive. “There is a process to do that, and we are waiting for a full BCCI order to come. I know the BCCI has issued a press release [announcing the decision]. But courts don’t take cognizance of press releases; they can only be used as annexures,” she said.
“It was third-rate evidence on which the BCCI based its case and banned him. We are just waiting for the full order to see its contours and reasoning the BCCI has given for banning him to prepare a decent petition.” The lawyer contended that the BCCI drew largely from the Delhi Police’s probe findings and that it acted in haste; it should have waited for the Delhi sessions court hearing the matter to pronounce judgment.
The date of the next hearing is October 7.
In January, Uttar Pradesh pacer Shalabh Srivastava’s petition against a five-year ban, imposed by the BCCI based on a TV sting, was dismissed by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court “... on the finding that the duty exercised by the BCCI in the present case is not a pubic duty and impugned action doesn’t lie under pubic law domain”. Srivastava was shown agreeing to ‘spot fix’ IPL matches in exchange for money, something he denied vehemently.
During the previous court hearing in Sreesanth’s case, the sessions court on September 9 pulled up the Special Cell of Delhi Police for “missing links” in their probe. Expressing his surprise at the disjointed investigation, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma directed the Delhi Police commissioner to take a re-look at their report within a month.
Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth, Chavan, Ajit Chandila and 19 others on allegations of betting and spot- fixing in the IPL. After some more arrests, they filed a 6,000 page charge-sheet against 39 persons, including many suspect bookies. Chandresh Jain, the 40th accused, was arrested later.
Meanwhile, a close friend of Sreesanth charged that the BCCI had pre- decided to ban the Kerala fast bowler.
“As Sreesanth was leaving the room after appearing before the disciplinary committee on Friday in Delhi, a BCCI official told him that ‘we will get back to you in about a week or 10 days’,” the person, who was present outside the meeting room, told Mail Today.
“But we had barely reached the Dhaula Kuan flyover [barely a couple of hundred yards from the hotel] when we got a call giving the news of the ban. We were shocked, as they had given no indication of an early verdict.”
Asked if it would have made any difference had the BCCI announced its decision later, he said:
“It wouldn’t have made any difference. But the point is that the verdict clearly looked pre- decided. They wanted to show the world that they were giving an opportunity to the players to defend themselves.” He also questioned the presence of BCCI president N. Srinivasan in the meeting as he had stepped aside from the day- today working of the Board. But it’s also a fact that the statutory powers of the Board president lie with Srinivasan and, without his signature, the verdict wouldn’t have stood legal scrutiny.
Rise and fall of a maverick
Sreesanth banned for life by BCCI
Life ban biggest setback: Sreesanth
Sreesanth, wasted but not wanted