BCCI Ombudsman DK Jain has ordered that the ban imposed on S Sreesanth for alleged spot-fixing will end in August next year. Jain also observed that the former India pacer is well past his prime, having already served six years. The BCCI had banned Sreesanth, who is now 36, for life in August 2013.
S Sreesanth along with Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan received life ban by the BCCI‘s disciplinary committee in September 2013. Later, he was cleared of all charges by a Delhi trial court in 2015 due to insufficient evidence under the MCOCA act; a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism.
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But the BCCI has remained firm with its decision since it was independent to any criminal proceeding and was based on its independent disciplinary action. As a result, S Sreesanth never managed to return to the field for India or any team related to the Indian cricket board. In fact, he even failed to obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCCI to play outside India.
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But on March 15, 2019, the Supreme Court set aside the BCCI disciplinary committee’s order. Now, in an order passed on August 7, Jain said “ends of justice” would be met by making it a seven-year suspension and letting him play next year.
“…for Mr Sreesanth, who is now in his late thirties, his prime years as a Cricketer, particularly as a fast bowler may already be over,” Jain reasoned in his order.
“… I am of the view that banning Mr. Sreesanth from participating in any kind of commercial Cricket or from associating with any activities of the BCCI or its affiliates, for a period of seven years with effect from 13.09.2013, i.e. the date from which, the period of ban imposed by the Disciplinary Committee had commenced, will meet the ends of justice,” Jain said in the order.
In April this year, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K.M. Joseph said that Jain would reconsider within three months, the quantum of punishment for Sreesanth for the fixing scandal. The BCCI, on February 28, told the apex court that the life ban imposed on Sreesanth was “fully sustainable in law” as he had “tried to influence” a match.
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Sreesanth’s lawyer countered the arguments and told the court that no spot-fixing took place during the IPL match. The lawyer also said that the allegations levelled against his client were baseless. Sreesanth has also kept saying that the allegations are false and he is innocent. Prior to the ban, he represented India in 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20 Internationals, claiming 169 wickets across formats.