New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) A court here on Saturday dropped charges against cricketer S. Sreesanth and 35 other accused in the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing case.
Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna discharged cricketers Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and 33 others.
Delhi Police chargesheeted them for cheating and conspiracy under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
The court announced its order in a jam packed room — full of lawyers, journalists and other people.
Soon after the court ordered that all accused were discharged, Sreesanth broke down.
Welcoming the verdict, Sreesanth told reporters that he had faith in the judiciary and believed that he will be released in the case.
He thanked god and referred to Saturday as the best day of his life when he could walk away freely.
Sreesanth hoped that he could now return to cricket.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a press statement said the decision of the board based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered.
“Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal proceeding and has no bearing,” the BCCI said.
In September 2013, the disciplinary committee of the board banned Sreesanth and Chavan for life for their involvement in spot-fixing during certain matches of the IPL 2013.
Delhi Police filed a chargesheet on July 30, 2013, alleging that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel were behind the spot-fixing scandal.
The formal set of charges, running into 6,000 pages, named Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan, among other 42 accused, in the scandal related to the IPL-6 held in 2013.
Six accused, including Dawood and Shakeel, are on the run. Dawood and Shakeel have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case after police completed proceedings of their property attachment.
Relieved after the court’s decision, Chandila said the period following the spot-fixing scandal was “the worst part” of his life.
Hoping that he will get back to cricket again, Chandila said it was a tough time but with support from his family and friends, he survived.
Relatives and well-wishers present in the court room welcomed the decision with joy.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police moved a last-minute plea to conduct further investigation in the case citing that the recently published Justice Lodha Commission report has brought “new evidence”.