Bail granted to Sreesanth, 18 others

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) A Delhi court Monday granted bail to suspended cricketer S. Sreesanth, his Rajasthan Royals teammate Ankeet Chavan and 17 bookies who were booked under the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the IPL spot fixing scandal.

Additional Session Judge Vinay Kumar Khanna granted bail to the accused on a personal bond of Rs.50,000 each with one surety of the like amount.

The court said granting bail to accused indicted police for slapping stringent provisions of MCOCA and that there was no prima facie evidence to try them under the act.

“There is no reason for believing that the accused are guilty under the MCOCA at this stage.” It added: “There is prima facie no sufficient material against the accused to establish their nexus with organised crime syndicate”.

The others who were granted bail include Jiju Janardhan, Chandresh Patel and Tinku Mandi among others.

The court said: “There are allegations of betting by bookies and fixing by players for benefiting the syndicate. After probing into the matter deeply and going into the materials placed before the court, this court finds that there is no sufficient material on record to establish that there is a nexus of accused with the organised crime syndicate.”

Another Rajasthan Royals cricketer, Ajit Chandila, and six others had not applied for bail.

Delhi Police invoked the MCOCA against the accused as they were allegedly facilitating the illegal acts of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel.

Besides the 19 who were granted bail by the court, six others are now in judicial custody till June 18 while one of the alleged bookies, Ramesh Vyas, is in police custody till June 18.

Delhi Police have so far arrested 26 people, including Sreesanth and two of his Rajasthan Royals teammates, in connection with the case.

Police failed to satisfy the court and place on record evidence to justify their decision to book the accused under MCOCA for being involved in organised crime syndicate operated by Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel.

The court said: “I have to examine the evidence and then only I will be able to decide the matter and whether these people have nexus with underworld people sitting outside.”

The court’s remarks came after the police told it that the investigating agency would not be in a position to place before it the documents and evidence before June 18 as the probe was in an initial stage.

“It will be misuse of provisions of MCOCA, so you will have to give relevant documents. If you have booked them under MCOCA, it means you must be having proper sanction and sufficient evidence against each of them,” the judge said.

The judge also said the accused persons are not “habitual offenders” and have clean antecedents and they are not likely to flee from justice.

It also directed the accused to submit their passports before it and asked them not go out of India without its prior permission.

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