Slapped with charges including that of organised crime, cricketers S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were on Saturday discharged in the sensational 2013 IPL-6 spot-fixing case by a court in Delhi which held that police has failed to make out a case against them.
“All are discharged,” Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna said while pronouncing the order clearing in all, 36 persons accused of cheating, cheating by personation and conspiracy along with charges under the tough Maharahstra law MCOCA.
The three cricketers, who were banned for life from the game by BCCI immediately after police action in the alleged scam two years ago, were clubbed with underworld fugitive dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel. They were accused of involvement in organised crime syndicate run by the dons.
But the court, which was to decide whether to frame charges in the case, however, said the police was also unable to substantiate charges under MCOCA and also under the Indian Penal Code. Six accused including Ibrahim and Shakeel were declared proclaimed offenders.
It was of the view that there was no evidence in the case to frame charges in which the Delhi police had first filed a 6,000-page charge sheet against various accused and later came out with a supplementary charge sheet.
The charge sheet had said that the police had unearthed sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused for the offence punishable under section 120 B (conspiracy) read with 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the provisions the stringent MCOCA.
The cricketers expressed happiness over the verdict saying they always had faith in the judiciary and vowed to return to the game.
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.”
Sreesanth, 32, broke down on hearing the order while the other accused including the players present in the courtroom started hugging each other.
Even when a court had granted bail to Sreesanth and others, it was held that there was lack of evidence against them under the provisions of MCOCA.
The court had then indicted the Delhi Police for slapping the stringent provisions of MCOCA on Sreesanth, Chavan and others.
“There is no reason for believing that the accused are guilty under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) at this stage,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinay Kumar Khanna had said then.
It said there was prima facie “no sufficient material” against the accused to establish their “nexus” with organised crime syndicate.