(From Press Trust of India)
All the 36 accused including former India capped cricketer S. Sreesanth were on Saturday discharged in the IPL-6 spot-fixing case by a New Delhi court.
Other two prominent IPL players — Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — who were on bail were also discharged in the case in which six persons including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel were declared proclaimed offenders.
“All are discharged (from the case),” additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna said while pronouncing the order.
The case was on Saturday put for order on framing of charges against the 36 accused persons who were on bail.
Sreesanth, 32, broke down on hearing the order while the other accused including the players present in the courtroom started hugging each other.
Talking to PTI, Sreesanth said at last justice has been done to him, adding, “God willing, I will be able to return to cricket. I have no regrets, no complaints.”
Chandila told ESPNcricinfo.com that the period following the spot-fixing scandal was “the worst of my life”.
Chavan too expressed hope of returning to the game: “So far I just know that I have been given a discharge and now I am looking forward to play cricket. So let’s see how it goes. I am taking it step by step. It was tough for me as a cricketer. It was a tough time but I got through with support from family and friends. I am sure I will be back to cricket again.”
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said its disciplinary action would remain unaltered. “Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal proceeding and has no bearing. The decisions of the BCCI, based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered,” the board said in a press release.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said he was happy for the three cricketers cleared and insisted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India should not have a problem with the order.
“It’s very good for them. The court has done whatever they felt right,” Ganguly told reporters at the Cricket Association of Bengal’s annual prize distribution in Kolkata.
Asked whether Sreesanth could still make a comeback, Ganguly said: “The court has taken away charges from him (Sreesanth), I don’t think BCCI will have a problem. Anyway, it’s up to the BCCI now.”
Former India chief selector K Srikkanth, who was in Kolkata as the chief guest, refused to comment on the verdict.