‘I am innocent and have done no wrong’, says Sreesanth

Image courtesy of: India Today

Sreesanth is confident his name will be cleared

Indian bowler Sreesanth opened up for the first time since being indicted in a match-fixing scandal that has rocked not only the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but also the entire cricketing world.

The man who we all knew for swinging his bat around his head like he were possessed by the moment of hitting a six had now become nothing more than a common criminal and a disgrace in the eyes of India and the rest of the cricketing community.

Breaking his silence for the first time since being arrested, Sreesanth pleaded with the world to believe that he was “innocent” and had “done no wrong”, and he even claimed that he had been framed by someone else, despite overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise.

Sreesanth, along with his Rajasthan Royals teammates – Ajit Chadila and Ankeet Chavan – were all taken in custody by Delhi police and have been charged under three laws of the Indian Penal Code: Section 409, which is a criminal breach of trust that is a non-bailable offence, Section 420, which is all about fraud and cheating and Section 120B, which basically deals with conspiracies to commit a crime.

Speaking about the charges, Sreesanth said: “”I am innocent and have done no wrong, I have never indulged in any spot-fixing.”

The Indian pace bowler also remains confident that his name will be clear since he had never indulged in any corrupt activities.

“As a cricketer, I have learnt to take knocks along with accolades, in my stride,” he said. “I recognise that I am going through a tough period in my life. I have utmost faith in our judicial process and I am confident that with time I will be proved innocent, and my honour and dignity will be vindicated and restored.”

Many cricket pundits and former players are understandably confused about the reason behind the Delhi police charging them under Section 409, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, as it mostly refers to “public servants” or someone “in the way of his business as a banker, merchant, factor, broker, attorney or agent.”

According to a report published by The Hindu, Additional Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan noted that the Section 409 charge had been invoked since Sreesanth had violated the terms of his Royals contract.

Mohan stated that Sreesanth had been given a contract for his “past experience and his match-winning abilities and it was an exclusive contract which granted him playing rights and performing rights, and the agreement did not allow performance for individual gain”.

In another developing story, Mumbai police confirmed that they have arrested three other people in connection with the match-fixing case, including that of Virendra Dara Singh Randhawa, who is also known as Vindoo and is the son of famous Indian wrestler Dara Singh.

“The first [arrest] is that of Alpesh Patel, who was a hawala operator connected to these bookies. We have recovered Rs 1.28 crores (US$230,000) in cash from his premises,” Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime) in Mumbai, said. “[Vindoo] has also been arrested for links with bookies who have been arrested by us (on Saturday), the third is Prem Taneja.”

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