Arrested Rajasthan Royals cricketers Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila have been remanded to judicial custody till June 18. A Delhi court rejected their bail applications in the spot-fixing case after the Delhi Police decided to invoke the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused.
MCOCA is a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism and contains far stricter provisions relating to bail and admissibility of confessions compared to the Indian Penal Code. It allows police longer spells of custody of the accused.
"It is extremely inappropriate for the Delhi police to invoke a draconian law like MCOCA," Sreesanth's lawyer Rebecca John said. "There seems to be a duplicity in the standards of both the Delhi & the Mumbai police - this is a Maharashtra law and we see that two big catches of the Mumbai police have been released on bail today. Others are walking free while the law has been invoked without any evidence against the players who are the most vulnerable."
Chavan had earlier been granted conditional bail till June 6 to get married in Mumbai. The three Royals cricketers were arrested on May 16, following which they were suspended by the BCCI pending an inquiry. The Royals franchise had suspended the contracts of all three players and also filed a police complaint against them. The players were allegedly promised money ranging from US$36,000 to 109,000 by bookies for each over of under-performance.
Eleven bookies were also arrested along with the three players. One of the middlemen was identified as Jiju Janardhan, described by the police as Sreesanth's close friend and team-mate at the Ernakulam club. Delhi Police had initially registered cases under the Indian Penal Code section 420 and 120B, which deal with fraud, cheating, and criminal conspiracy.