The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) disciplinary committee's order imposing a life ban on fast bowler S Sreesanth for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. The court asked the cricket board to consider a fresh punishment for the former India pacer within the next three months. However, the court rejected Sreesanth's plea that he should not be punished at all because he was acquitted in the spot-fixing case.
The court said that harsh punishment of life ban should not be imposed in all cases and BCCI disciplinary committee did not consider mitigating circumstances.
"It's a huge relief. The court has given me a huge lifeline and I am happy with the opportunity given to me," Sreesanth told NDTV after the ruling.
"I am just being optimistic and I hope to keep myself fit until September-October. Now, I believe I can even play Ranji Trophy for Kerala this season which starts from September-October," he added.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and KM Joseph made it clear that Sreesanth will get the opportunity of being heard by the committee on the quantum of the punishment.
In October 2017, a division bench of the Kerala High Court had reimposed the life ban on Sreesanth after a petition from the BCCI. Earlier, a single-judge bench of the court had revoked the ban and had ordered BCCI to lift the ban.
In May 2013, Sreesanth, who was playing for Rajasthan Royals, and his teammates Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested by Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing controversy that shook Indian cricket.
All three players were later banned for life by the BCCI. In 2015, Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan were cleared of spot-fixing charges after a Delhi trial court found that there was no evidence to prove that they had been involved in any wrongdoing and also insufficient evidence under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Sreesanth had also argued that the inquiry team formed by BCCI had submitted the final report without giving him a chance of hearing.
(With PTI Inputs)