With S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan absolved of any criminal complicity in the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal and the BCCI drawing a line in the sand claiming that their ban on the aforesaid individuals will not be revoked, Indian cricket fans are in for more courtroom drama involving the BCCI and the freed trio.
The Delhi court order leaves the field open for the three players to challenge the nation’s premier cricket body and overturn the ban. This may be a long drawn-out process. There is no guarantee that if and when the ban is nullified, the players will be at their best. They have lost their prime years while serving the ban.
Mohammad Azharuddin, Nayan Mongia and Ajay Jadeja cleared their names by taking on the BCCI via the Indian judicial system. Yet, only Jadeja was able to make a comeback of sorts to competitive cricket.
What must perplex every cricket aficionado is how and why one tribunal found the IPL players guilty and the other did not. The evidence presented in both cases was the same. Strange are the ways of the Indian judicial system and the BCCI.
The BCCI responded to the Delhi High Court’s verdict thus:
“Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent of any criminal proceeding and has no bearing. The decisions of the BCCI, based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered.The BCCI has nothing to do with acriminal case between the police and individuals. The disciplinary proceedings of the board and the criminal case of the police are independent of each other. In certain cases a charge is enough in a departmental inquiry while the same charge is needed to be proved in a court of law.”
PR Raman, a former legal officer with the cricketing body, said:
“The standard of proof in a court is different from standard of proof in a BCCI inquiry. Acquittal in a court cannot have any influence on the BCCI action which was taken independent of court rules.The degree of strictness is different from a court and a domestic/departmental inquiry. The laws in courts are not similar to those in the BCCI. The BCCI goes by its own code of conduct.Savani had found out that they were hobnobbing with bookies. That is enough to prove the players guilty. Talking to bookies is unacceptable under the BCCI code.”
Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were handed five, seven and ten years bans by an ICC tribunal. The criminal case that followed wherein the ICC verdict was not made available to the English press to prevent biasing any jury found the above guilty of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and accepting corrupt payments. Butt and Asif were sentenced to 30 and 12 months in prison respectively while Amir was sentenced to six months in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.
The teen-aged fast bowler was freed after serving only half his sentence.
The ICC tribunal and the Southwark Crown Court were one in accord.
The discordant note struck yesterday will have warning bells going off within the BCCI once more.