Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Is Sreesanth an Ajmal Kasab?

By John Cheeran

Is S Sreesanth a terrorist? Is he a criminal? Is ‘spot-fixing’ a crime? Is he a Sanjay Dutt? Should Sreesanth be tried under sections 3 and 4 of Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA)? These are important questions, because we are in danger of slipping into a police state, where an accused person has few options to prove his innocence. MCOCA takes away one’s right to be on bail. As per the act, anything that the police claim as confessions to a superintendent of police (SP) level officer in writing or recording will be admissible before a court of law.

What is applicable for Sreesanth also holds true for the two other Rajasthan Royals cricketers, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila. As of now, for me, Sreesanth is a cricketer who has erred grievously. Delhi Police till last Tuesday (June 4) had charged him with cheating offence Under IPC 420. Under Indian Penal Code, there is no such offence called ‘spot-fixing.’

Of course, Sreesanth has committed a mistake. With a sense of drama, which is richly deserving in this case, you can say Sreesanth has betrayed cricket. Sreesanth’s crime is that he broke the agreement he had with his IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals and the BCCI, the owners of IPL, by indulging in ‘spot-fixing’ and thereby besmirching the reputation of IPL and cricket.

Sreesanth has done something that is indefensible, going by the Delhi Police’s initial argument, that he took money from bookies and bowled as per their instructions. If it is so, it is an act that is unpardonable by a cricket enthusiast. It is nothing more. And I presume Delhi police, too, know this aspect of the case, including police commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

If that is so, why are the police applying MCOCA against Sreesanth and other accused?

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