New Delhi, May 15: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Delhi High Court to decide by end of July the appeal challenging a trial court order discharging several cricketers, including S Sreesanth, in the sensational Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case.
Sreesanth, who was banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has filed an appeal in the apex court challenging the Kerala High Court decision upholding the ban on him. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it understood Sreesanth's "anxiety" to play cricket, but would like to wait for the high court's decision on the appeal of the Delhi Police challenging the trial court order discharging the cricketers and others in the IPL spot-fixing case.
The banned India paceman has sought an interim direction that he should be allowed to play the English county cricket in the view of the fact that he has already been discharged in the IPL spot-fixing case and has been suffering the ban for the past four years. The Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth and other two cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan on charges of spot fixing during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013.
The apex court had on February 5 sought a response of the BCCI and the two members of the committee, which had recommended the life ban on Sreesanth, over his plea challenging a Kerala High Court verdict restoring the life ban imposed on him by the apex cricket body in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
The BCCI had earlier told the court that the case against Sreesanth was an "open and shut" one as telephonic conversations had revealed that he allegedly took money for bowling 'no balls' during an IPL match in 2013. The conversation involved talk of division of money between the cricketer and a bookie for bowling 'no balls' in a particular IPL match.
A single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had on August 7 last year lifted the life ban imposed on 34-year-old Sreesanth by the BCCI and set aside all proceedings against him initiated by the board. A division bench of the high court had later restored the ban on a petition filed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against the single-judge bench's order.
All the 36 accused in the spot-fixing case, including Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila, were let-off by a Patiala House court in July, 2015. The Delhi Police later challenged the Patiala High Court decision in the Delhi High Court. The BCCI, however, had refused to alter its disciplinary decision even after the verdict.