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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Cricket

Friday the 13th spells doom for Sreesanth
Sai Mohan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 13, 2013
First Published: 21:57 IST(13/9/2013)
Last Updated: 13:18 IST(14/9/2013)

When the BCCI’s working committee was handed anti-corruption chief Ravi Sawani’s report on August 29, there were murmurs within BCCI that S Sreesanth was set to face the harshest possible punishment.

Sawani’s recommendations to the Board were made public in a media report on Friday morning. And just a few hours later, Sreesanth & Co were given a forum to plead their innocence.

In the end, the hearing was a mere formality. So was Sawani’s half-baked report. While Sawani recommended a five-year ban for Sreesanth, a verdict that was to be pronounced later this month, the Disciplinary Committee thought otherwise.

They wanted to make a statement. Not only did they slap a premature ban, they thought it was fitting for Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan to suffer life bans.

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There lies the question: What investigation did Sawani conduct before preparing his report? His report that leaked to a newspaper had little mention of Delhi Police’s findings.

And that is because Delhi Police did not hand Sawani any concrete evidence. Remember, evidence is now case property of court.

Also, prima facie evidence is only for circulation among defense lawyers, not a third party like the BCCI.

Add to that, BCCI has been oblivious to the fact that Delhi High Court shot down the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police, saying it had loopholes, just a few months ago.

And recently, Patiala House Court of Delhi too found missing links in the investigations made by the Delhi police special cell. Furthermore, the court didn’t take up the police’s plea for the cancellation of bail of Sreesanth. The court also didn’t find any reason to invoke provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

Also, the audio evidence presented by the Delhi Police were deemed futile by the Delhi High Court. And yet, BCCI’s supreme powers was somehow better equipped to finding “enough evidence” to act.

What is most difficult to fathom is that Mumbai Police’s strong evidence against Chennai Super Kings owner Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra has been swiftly overlooked. The reason: Mumbai Police didn’t co-operate with BCCI. Sure, and that’s how you protect the bigger fishes.

And once again, the haughty BCCI proves it is above than the law.

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