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Spot-fixing case; SC asks BCCI to reconsider Sreesanth’s lifetime ban

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) disciplinary committee’s order of 2013 imposing life ban on cricketer S Sreesanth for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case.

The apex court also said the BCCI’s disciplinary committee may reconsider quantum of punishment to be given to the former Indian pacer within three months.

The SC also said that Sreesanth will get an opportunity to be heard by BCCI’s disciplinary committee on quantum of punishment.

The apex court, however, said its order shall have no effect on criminal proceedings pending against Sreesanth.

The Kerala pacer had moved the Supreme Court saying that he has offers to play English County matches and the BCCI life ban was ‘too harsh’.

He said he has suffered the ban for four years now and has been acquitted by a Delhi court in the sensational 2013 IPL spot-fixing case in 2015.

He had pleaded that when life ban on cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin, who was accused for his involvement in match-fixing scandal of 2000, can be reversed then why can’t his life ban imposed by the BCCI can be set aside.

On November 8, 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had termed the life ban imposed by the BCCI in 2000 for match-fixing on former captain Azharuddin as illegal.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Sreesanth, had said that the cricketer was now 36 years of age and if the ban was not revoked, he will not be able to play club cricket in the United Kingdom for which he has two-three offers.

He said that at 35 years of age, his international cricket career is virtually over but he should at least be allowed to play club cricket.

Khurshid had further said that except for Sreesanth, none of the other players who were embroiled in the alleged spot-fixing scandal were given life time ban.

Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for the BCCI, had said that there were incriminating evidence against Sreesanth due to which the apex cricket body imposed ban against him.

He had said that the BCCI has adopted zero tolerance against corruption in the game and the life ban cannot be revoked.

On May 15, the apex court had denied Sreesanth playing for English County, but had asked Delhi High Court to decide expeditiously an appeal challenging a trial court order discharging several cricketers, including him, in the case.

The Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth, along with cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and others on charges of spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013.

As many as 36 accused in the case, including Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila, were let-off by a Patiala House court in July, 2015.

The Delhi Police had later challenged the decision in the Delhi High Court.

The BCCI had however refused to alter its disciplinary decision of life ban even after the verdict.

Sreesanth has challenged in the apex court the decision of a division bench of the Kerala High Court restoring the ban imposed on him by the BCCI.

The apex court had on February 5 sought response from the BCCI and two members of the committee, which had recommended the life ban on Sreesanth.

A single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had on August 7 last year lifted the life ban imposed on 34-year-old Sreesanth by the BCCI and set aside all proceedings against him initiated by the board.

A division bench of the high court had later restored the ban on a petition led by the BCCI against the single-judge bench’s order.

(With inputs from PTI)

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