The Indian Premier League (IPL) was rocked by one of the biggest scandals back in the 2013 season. The three cricketers involved in that ‘spot-fixing’ scam – S. Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila from the Rajasthan Royals side – were all handed life bans from cricket for their involvement by the Supreme Court of India.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) overturned Sreesanth and Chavan’s bans a couple of years back and on Tuesday (February 21), the third accused Chandila also had his life ban overturned by BCCI Ombudsman Vineet Saran. Chandila’s ban was reduced to 7 years as well.
Sreesanth went on to play for Ranji side Kerala while Chavan resumed to his cricketing career by turning out for club team in Mumbai.
In his order, reported by the Indian Express newspaper, Saran wrote, “The present matter arises out of Case Crime No 20/2013 dated 09.05.2013 registered with the Special Cell of Dell Police against the Applicant on allegations of spot fixing in cricket matches of the Indian Premier League (“IPL”). Pending inquiry, BCCI suspended the Applicant from all cricketing activities on 17.05.2013. Apart from the criminal proceedings initiated against the Applicant, disciplinary proceedings were also initiated against him by the BCCI. Accordingly, the Applicant’s Representation dated 04.11.2019 is accepted and his prayer for granting him parity with Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan is allowed. The life ban imposed on him by Order of BCCI Disciplinary Committee dated 18.01.2016 is reduced to a period of seven (7) years from 18.01.2016.”
As a result, Chandila’s ban period came to an end on January 18 last month and Chandila will be free to get back to the field as well. In 2017, the Kerala High Court had lifted the life ban imposed on Sreesanth by the BCCI in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
In his verdict, Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said there was no incriminating evidence to pinpoint Sreesanth’s involvement in the spot-fixing scandal. The court pointed out that the committee had come to the conclusion based solely on circumstantial evidence.
The committee found nothing that suggests the cricketer had agreed to spot-fixing. The only probability in such circumstances that could be pointed out against the cricketer was his knowledge on the subject of betting. The evidence pointed out that betting syndicates and other mafia had encircled the gentleman’s game. The court passed the verdict while allowing a writ filed by Sreesanth challenging the BCCI disciplinary committee’s decision. Back in 2015, a Delhi court had acquitted Sreesanth of all charges, but the BCCI had slapped a life term ban on him.