The Supreme Court has set aside the life ban imposed on former India fast bowler S Sreesanth for his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case, it was confirmed on Friday (March 15). The court also asked the Board for Control of Cricket in India to consider a fresh punishment for the former India pacer within the next three months. The court, however, rejected Sreesanth’s plea that he should not be punished at all because he was acquitted in the spot-fixing case.
While the BCCI argued that the ban imposed was “fully sustainable in law”, Salman Khurshid, Sreesanth’s lawyer, told the two-member bench – comprising of Justices Ashoka Bhushan and KM Joseph – the only fault the pacer had committed was to not disclose the wrongdoings to the board. “Life ban given to Mohammed Azharuddin (former India captain) was overturned. Pakistan’s Salim Malik got a life ban but it was overturned. Hansie Cronje was given life ban but he died in a plane crash when proceedings were not closed,” Khurshid had argued. “If at all he is guilty of anything, it is for failure to disclose about fixing, etc, despite having knowledge. That will make him guilty only of the least punishable offence. There is nothing on record to warrant a lifetime ban.”
On October 2017, a division bench of the Kerala High Court had reimposed the life ban on Sreesanth after a petition from the BCCI. Earlier, a single-judge bench of the court had revoked the ban and had ordered BCCI to lift the ban.
In May 2013, Sreesanth, who was playing for Rajasthan Royals, and his teammates Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested by the Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing controversy that shook Indian cricket. All three players were later banned for life by the BCCI. In 2015, Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan were cleared of spot-fixing charges after a Delhi trial court found that there was no prima facie evidence to prove that they had been involved in any wrongdoing and also insufficient evidence under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Sreesanth had also argued that the inquiry team formed by BCCI had submitted the final report without giving him a chance of hearing.