Former India pacer S Sreesanth said on Sunday he had no connection with Dawood Ibrahim, a day after a Delhi court cleared him of spot-fixing charges in a case that involved the underworld don.
"If I had any link with him, I would not have been here. I would have been in Dubai or some other place. If I had known people like him, I would not have been a cricketer," he said, referring to the case of wrongdoings in the sixth edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
On Sunday, the former India pacer was accorded an emotional welcome by his fans, friends and relatives at the Kochi international airport on his arrival from Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the Kerala cricketer said he was grateful to all, especially Keralites, who stood with him throughout his career and the troubled times.
IPL spot fixing: BCCI quick to ban players but slow on officials
"The money I earned...it is hard earned. The question was about my personality and my commitment. I am happy now...I am discharged from all charges," the cricketer said when asked about how he felt when charges were framed against him linking him with mob boss Dawood and his close aide Chhotta Shakeel.
The court breather for Sreesanth came just ten days after a Supreme Court-appointed panel suspended IPL franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years after their officials were found guilty of illegally betting on games in the same tournament where the alleged spot-fixing by three players took place.
In May 2013, Sreesanth and his two Rajasthan Royals teammates were arrested by Delhi Police on charges of spot fixing. The three cricketers -- Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- were accused of involvement in organised crime syndicate run by the mob bosses.
All of them had to spend time in jail during the course of investigation. Of the three, Sreesanth and Chavan are currently serving life bans imposed by the BCCI while Chandila’s hearing is still on.
The court, which dropped all charges against 16 accused, held that the Special Cell of Delhi Police was unable to establish any "nexus" or link between accused and the crime syndicate allegedly run by Dawood and Shakeel, who have been declared as proclaimed offenders in the case along with one Sandeep.
Sreesanth said on Sunday he was happy that he was able to recapture his life and career which were shattered because of the cases.
"I will resume my practice today (on Sunday)," the cricketer said, hoping that the BCCI would lift the life ban imposed on him.