Shalabh Srivastava sues BCCI

Wants quashing of 5-year ban for alleged role in spot fixing. Uttar Pradesh pacer says sentence too harsh for ‘loose talk’.

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh pacer Shalabh Srivastava has become the first of the five players, banned by the Indian cricket Board for their alleged role in spot fixing, to move a court of law against the sentence.

Srivastava, 31, has prayed in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court that his five-year ban be squashed and he be given interim relief to play cricket, which has been the main source of his livelihood.

The counsel for Srivastava said that his client wants quashing of the order of the special disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and also that of Ravi Sawani, BCCI’s one-man inquiry committee.

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“There are six respondents in the case. They are the Union of India through the Ministry of Sports, the BCCI, the BCCI president [N Srinivasan], the BCCI secretary [Sanjay Jagdale], the inquiry commission, and the BCCI disciplinary committee,” senior advocate Prashant Chandra told MAIL TODAY from Lucknow.

Besides Srinivasan, BCCI vice-presidents Niranjan Shah and Arun Jaitley were part of the disciplinary committee, which has since become ‘functus officio’, or non-existent after it completed the purpose it was formed for.

A Bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Virendra Kumar Dixit is hearing the case.

A hearing is slated for Thursday.

Sources close to Srivastava, a member of the under-19 World Cup-winning team of 2000, say he believes he had done no wrong and the punishment for “loose talk” has been too severe.

Before moving the court, Srivastava had written to the sports ministry, praying for relief. The ministry, in its reply, said that since the Indian Premier League (IPL), during which the sting operation was undertaken, was a private tournament, it couldn’t do much. It, however, suggested that the Srivastava could approach a higher authority than the BCCI. It was then that Srivastava decided to take the legal recourse.

“He’s confident that he would get justice as he believes that he’s done no wrong. He has maintained this from the first day,” a source close to the player said.

The BCCI disciplinary committee itself admitted that there was “no evidence of actual match fixing or money changing hands in his case”, but held him guilty of “grave misconduct and misdemeanour in as much as speaking to an unauthorised person and not reporting to the BCCI”. Apart from Srivastava, TP Sudhindra ( Deccan Chargers, life), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors, five years), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab, one year), and Abhinav Bali (Himachal Pradesh, one year) were also banned.

Two reporters of the channel posed as representatives of a fictitious player management firm, Joy Khel and Masti, and induced them into spot fixing in return for money. Sawani then held player-agents responsible for introducing “malpractices” into the game.

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