Sreesanth found guilty of spot-fixing, slapped with life ban

Image courtesy of: The New Indian Express

Sreesanth and Chavan were both given life bans

India pace bowler Sreesanth has been found guilty of spot-fixing in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and slapped with a life ban.

Sreesanth’s Rajasthan Royals team-mate Ankeet Chavan was also handed a life ban by the BCCI.

Amit Singh, a Gujarat cricketer-turned-bookie was banned for five years, while Royals pace bowler Siddharth Trivedi was suspended for a year after failing to report a bookie approaching him.

However, Harmeet Singh, who was part of India’s Under-19 squad that triumphed in the 2012 Under-19 World Cup, was cleared of any wrongdoing due to a lack of evidence.

There has also been no word on Ajit Chandila as he continues to be questioned by Ravi Sawani, who led the BCCI probe into the spot-fixing scandal.

While Trivedi has been banned from taking part in any BCCI-organised cricket, the other three players have been banned from playing any form of competitive cricket or being associated with any BCCI activities.

The verdicts against the players were decided by the BCCI’s disciplinary committee, which consists of president Narayanaswami Srinivasan and vice-presidents Arun Jaitley and Niranjan Shah.

Sreesanth tweeted that he was extremely surprised about his life ban.

“Been tracking the news channels… Me getting a life ban??!! Very surprising,” he said.

The tweet was deleted shortly after.

Despite Sreesanth’s surprise, a BCCI insider revealed that all the committee members had unanimously voted to have the pace bowler banned for life.

The insider added that Amit Singh only received a five-year ban since he did not participate in the 2013 edition of the IPL.

“Moreover, even though he has introduced players to bookies, it has been established that he hasn’t played any direct part in fixing,” the insider said. “However, since he is a registered player with BCCI, he falls in the ambit of the BCCI ACSU code. As a result, five years was sought to be a suitable punishment.”

Harmeet Singh was given the benefit of the doubt as the committee members overruled Sawani’s guilty ruling.

Singh was forced into a solitary meeting, where he revealed everything to the Royals team management and Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

Since Singh had given them all the details, the committee members noted that it would be extremely harsh to spoil the 21-year-old’s career.

The disciplinary committee’s job was made easy by the firm tone of the Sawani report, which stated that all the players had attended the “ICC Education Programme just prior to the beginning of the IPL-6 season”.

“There is no specific mitigating factor that would require any mercy while sanctioning the aforesaid guilty players,” Sawani said in the report. “Sreesanth has played a number of international games and was part of the Indian national team which won the inaugural T20 World Cup, 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. He has received the ICC ACSU education programme on many occasions. In any case all the three players of Rajasthan Royals who are now being accused and found guilty by the under-signed received the ICC Education Programme just prior to the beginning of the IPL-6 season i.e. on April 5, 2013. The programme was delivered to the entire Rajasthan Royals team by Mr Arrie De Bear, regional security manager of the ICC ACSU.

“Obviously, the anti-corruption education given to the three players had no impact on the conduct. Therefore, the three players deserve no leniency whatsoever.”

Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested on May 16 by Delhi police for allegedly having fulfilled promises they made to bookmakers.

Eleven bookies, including Amit Singh, were also arrested.

Apart from being banned by the BCCI, the trio could be handed prison sentences if they are found guilty in a court of law.

These players and bookmakers were just a few names on a 39-person chargesheet comprised by Delhi police.

All 39 people on the list were charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

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