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Spot-fixing: 'MCOCA made out against some accused'

india Updated: Sep 10, 2013 09:58 IST
spot fixing

In a fresh trouble to those allegedly involved in the T20 League spot-fixing scandal, a Delhi court on Monday said some of the arrested accused persons were having "nexus" with the organised crime syndicate which bring the case under the fold of stringent MCOCA.

"In the present case, in the light of incriminating evidence that some of the accused persons named above were having direct link or nexus with organised crime syndicate, facilitating and running betting racket, that would bring the case within the fold of section 2 (1) (e) read with section 3 of MCOCA," additional sessions judge Dharmesh Sharma said.

The observations came while granting bail to suspended cricketer Ajit Chandila and two others, who were arrested in connection with the case.

The order assumes significance as a trial court earlier on June 10 had granted bail to suspended cricketers S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and other accused in the case and had ticked off special cell of Delhi police for slapping stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on them.

The court on Monday granted bail to Rajasthan Royals' player Chandila, ex-Ranji player Baburao Yadav and one of the alleged bookie Deepak Kumar but dismissed the bail applications of five other arrested accused. Chandila was arrested on May 16.

Chandila, Yadav and Kumar were granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each with one surety of like amount while bail pleas of alleged bookies Ramesh Vyas, Ashwani Agarwal, Sunil Bhatia, Firoz Farid Ansari and Jitender Kumar Jain were dismissed by the court.

The court, in its 35-page order, said although Chandila was prima facie alleged to be a "key fixer" but there was no credible evidence against him regarding his knowledge about the entire scandal.

"All said and done, the evidence against accused Ajit Chandila is uninspiring since mens rea is a necessary ingredient for commission of a crime under MCOCA and although Chandila is prima facie a key fixer in spot/session fixing, there is no credible evidence" to show that he had "any knowledge or connection of accused bookies and conduit Sunil Bhatia having a nexus with the organised crime syndicate," it said.

The court, however, pulled up the Delhi police for lack of coordination in getting incriminating evidence from the material seized by other probe agencies, including the Mumbai Police.

"Lastly, all said and done, this court cannot loose site of the fact that somewhere the special cell of Delhi police has a lot of explaining to do. Although, during the course of investigation name of conduits who have been handling or delivering money arising out of fruits of betting syndicate (such as Lokha based in Maharashtra and Lokesh based in Delhi) cropped up, surprisingly no worthwhile evidence has been unearthed during the police custody remand of the accused persons," it said.

"It appears that the police has somewhere adopted 'a pick and choose policy' which cannot be appreciated. Moreover, there has been a complete lack of coordination in getting incriminating evidence from the material seized by the Mumbai police," the court said.

It directed Delhi police commissioner to take appropriate steps to ensure fair probe into the case.

"I, therefore, find it appropriate to direct that the entire case file be re-examined by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi and appropriate steps be taken to unearth more evidence and ensure absolute fairness in the further investigation in this case and in doing so, active cooperation be sought from Mumbai Police, DRI and other investigating agencies," it said.

While granting bail to Yadav and Kumar, the court said Yadav was the "weakest link" in the entire scandal and Kumar appeared to be a "punter".

"Unfortunately for accused Babu Rao Yadav he appears to be the weakest link in the entire episode and he was merely a pawn in the hands of his handlers who did not gain anything in return but disgrace for being in the company of unscrupulous persons. There is no worthwhile evidence as against accused Deepak who appears to be a punter rather than a fixer," it said. The court also said the entire controversy has spoiled the game of cricket in India.

"May I hasten to add that the sports lovers in this country are distraught by the entire unsavoury despicable incident and the uncontrolled manner in which such betting syndicates are being allowed to run in our country with impunity which is spoiling the game of cricket, of which all of us are so passionate about," the judge said.

During the proceedings today, the court kept pending the bail plea of Chandra Prakash Jain alias Chandresh Jain, who was allegedly accepting bets by the name of Jupiter, saying that probe against him is still going on and police is yet to file charge sheet against him.

During the hearing, the court fixed October 7 for hearing the arguments on police's plea seeking cancellation of bail granted earlier to suspended cricketer S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and 19 others who were arrested in connection with the case.

The accused, including Sreesanth and Chavan, who were earlier granted bail, today appeared before the court in pursuance to the notices issued to them.

Police had filed its 6,000-page charge sheet against 39 persons. 40th accused Chandresh Jain was arrested after filing of the charge sheet in the case.

The trial court had on June 10 granted bail to Sreesanth, Chavan and 19 others for lack of evidence against them to be charged under MCOCA.

The police had in its charge sheet said that accused underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel, who have been "controlling the fixing and betting market" in cricket in India, were behind the T20 League spot-fixing.