Troubles for the Kerala pacer Santhakumaran Sreesanth, doesn’t seem to end any time soon. While hearing Sreesanth’s plea challenging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decision imposing a lifetime ban on him for his alleged involvement in match-fixing during 2013 IPL, the Supreme Court bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Ashok Bhushan on Thursday, reserved its order on the challenge plea and directed Sreesanth and BCCI to file their written submissions within two weeks.
Revisiting the serious charges of which the cricketer was found guilty, Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, counsel appearing for the BCCI submitted before the court that a lifetime ban imposed on the cricketer was apt keeping in view the serious charges with which the cricketer was charged including corruption, betting and bringing disrepute to the game.
He further raised doubts in the minds of judges stating the questionable figure of Rs. 10 Lakh, which came to surface after a telephonic conservation and which was never explained by the cricketer.
To this, Salman Khurshid, counsel appearing for Sreesanth, countered by saying that the onus to prove that the alleged amount came from a questionable source was on the BCCI.
Striking the emotional chords of the court, Khurshid urged the Court to take mercy at the cricketer and save his career from completely ending.
The Kerala pacer who has been a part of two world cups, challenged the Kerala High Court’s verdict passed on 17 October 2017 which imposed a ban on him to stay away from all the cricket activities conducted by BCCI. Life ban was imposed on him on charges of indulging in spot-fixing during 2013 IPL matches while playing for Rajasthan Royals.
In an emotional outburst in December last year, Sreesanth had moved the Apex Court, contending that the BCCI's decision to impose a life ban on him was ‘too harsh' and pleaded the court to issue directions to the apex cricketing body to lift the ban on him and let him enter the field again soon as he is running out of time being on the wrong side of 30s’. He cited references to cricketers like Mohammad Azharuddin, and said that the BCCI insisting on the ban is more than harsh with the likes of Azharuddin even returning to the cricket fraternity participating in cricketing elections. However, the plea was deferred by the court until Delhi High Court gave its verdict on the appeal filed against Sreesanth’s acquittal in the spot-fixing scandal.
In July, 2015 the Patiala House court had exempted as many as 36 accused which included Sreesanth as well but the BCCI Disciplinary Committee headed by present Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely slapped a life ban on him.
Sreesanth had in previous court hearing told the Supreme Court that he initially confessed to the Special Cell of Delhi Police about his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal to escape continuous police torture.