Kanpur (The Telegraph): Uttar Pradesh pacer Shalabh Srivastava feels that he hasn’t got “justice” after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) slapped a five-year ban on him for his involvement in corrupt practices during the IPL.
And what might serve as a moral relief for Shalabh and the four other banned cricketers, the Income Tax department has given them a clean chit to from any financial misconduct or receiving kickbacks in order to fix matches.
Also read: BCCI bans five players
An upset Shalabh, on Sunday, said: “I still maintain that I am innocent and I have not got justice… When I spoke to the BCCI officials, I told them that I have never been involved in any match-fixing. I told them that I haven’t even played in this year’s IPL… I thought I would get proper justice and won’t be punished as I am innocent.”
The verdict virtually means that the career of the 30-year-old Shalabh, who has gone to Shirdi with his family on a pilgrimage, is “as good as over.”
Shalabh also said that he hasn’t yet thought about appealing against the ban. “I don’t know what to do now that I have been banned for five years… May be some sort of divine intervention would help me and that’s why I have come with family (to Shirdi) to seek Sai Baba’s blessings,” Srivastava added.
The former India U-19 pacer still can’t understand that how it was concluded that he has negotiated in trying to fix an IPL match.
“Since I had knee injury, I was in Lucknow going through recuperation process. How can I negotiate with someone and promise him to fix matches and bowl no-balls?” he questioned.
But Shalabh did admit that it was a “huge mistake” to befriend unknown people. “But I never had any discussions on match-fixing with them,” he insisted.
Shalabh has played 41 first-class matches and has taken 130 wickets.
The BCCI, on Saturday, had slapped a life ban on TP Sudhindra while also handing varying degrees of punishments to four other players caught in the IPL spot-fixing scandal. While the 28-year-old Sudhindra, the highest wicket taker (40 wickets) in the last Ranji Trophy season, was the worst hit, Shalabh was banned for five years. Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali were banned for a year each.
Meanwhile, the Income Tax department, which conducted an investigation into the financial transactions of the five players, found that the cricketers have not received any pecuniary benefit in cash or by the way of fund deposits in their accounts.
According to sources privy to the development, the department is expected to submit a report in this regard soon and would also inform the sports ministry.
The sports ministry had asked the department of revenue, under the finance ministry, and the I-T department to probe alleged financial irregularities.
The I-T sleuths also conducted a scan on the bank accounts, investments and other financial avenues of these five cricketers and their close relatives, in order to probe if any kickbacks were illegally received by them to fix IPL matches.
“They are clean, at least, on the illegal gratification and money front,” sources said.
The department, however, is continuing with its probe against various IPL franchises.
While the BCCI had cracked the whip against the five players for a variety of reasons, sources said the I-T probe was specifically gauged to find evidence of transfer of any illegal cash or any other monetary benefits.
The statements of the players, according to the sources, and the inputs gathered about them corroborated that their finances were not illegal.
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