In a controversial and embarrassing judgment, a trial court has acquitted cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case. According to the judgement, the prosecution failed to prove the existence of a crime syndicate led by Dawood Ibrahim in betting and match-fixing or to link any accused to such a syndicate. Therefore, the court discharged all 36 accused arrested by police and charged under the MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act).
However, the court said that new laws were needed under which people indulging in betting and match-fixing can be convicted because currently, these didn't amount to criminal offence. Even if betting is proved, it is excluded by the Public Gambling Act and is not an offence for which an accused can be held liable. The case had made headlines in 2013 when the Delhi Police had announced taht it had astrong case against a major betting racket involving the D Company, bookies and players.
However, the BCCI's life ban on these players will continue, as per BCCI. The investigations started a chain of events which finally led to the ouster of then BCCI chief N Srinivasan and the suspension of IPL franchises Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. The Delhi Police had chargesheeted 42 people for cheating, criminal conspiracy under various IPC sections and MCOCA. Discharging the accused, the court also said that the prosecution prima facie failed to show any illegal or hawala transactions among the accused.
During the hearing, the Delhi Police relied mainly on voice intercepts and disclosures by the accused under MCOCA while chargesheeting them. This proved to be a blunder as the trial court refused to accept them as evidence. The police also failed to prove direct transactions between the bookies and the players' agents. Nor could the cops prove any evidence of their meetings. The Delhi Police now paln to appeal against the ruling once they receive the formal court order.