"I also do not have access to any of the arrested persons including the arrested players and therefore, I am not able to question them on the allegations against them or give them a chance to explain their conduct. Even though I have no means to complete the process of natural justice, my hand is being forced to complete the report within 15 days in view of the direction of the Hon'ble Supreme Court."
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The full text of the letter Sreesanth submitted to the BCCI's disciplinary committee before the hearing on Friday. In it, he insists he is innocent and says his confession to the Delhi Police was under duress. He questions the BCCI probe led by Ravi Sawani - based on which he was subsequently banned - and asks for his suspension from cricket to be lifted
I am beholden to the BCCI for granting me an opportunity to submit this explanation highlighting the whole truth regarding the issue involved and engaging the attention of the BCCI.
Cricket is my pride and passion. I have given my entire life to it and in return cricket had given me whatever I have in life: name, game, admiration and recognition. In fact my commitment in life is entirely to cricket. There is no life to me without cricket.
I adore it like anything and worship it as my own mother. It will therefore be impossible for a son to sully the image of one's own mother. Even a mild indication or suggestion like that will send shudders through my spine. I love the game so much and I am prepared to put in my entire life into it.
I had to undergo six surgeries on my left big toe & right toe. I have been training hard to make it back. Lot of other injuries too but I never stopped. All I ever want is to play again and win matches for my country and injuries which did not deter me any manner from playing cricket spiritedly and with the same fervour. Though I was in crutches for a considerable number of months I forced me to be present in the play ground on the advice of my well wishers. Even at that time my performance was not in any way affected. After 10 months later due to back injury when I resumed to play in the very First International I was declared the "Man of Match" award.
With the commitment and devotion I had and with the blessings of God I became a proud member of the Indian Team which won the World Cup and I may not be misunderstood as blowing my own trumpet if I am permitted to describe in brief my career in cricket.
I have played a number of international games and was part of the Indian National Team, which won the inaugural T-20 World Cup, 2007 and the I.C.C World Cup in 2011. My commitment to the cricket and my reputation as one of the Fast Bowlers in the world cannot be doubted by anybody. Even in the enquiry report this has been acknowledged. To cut short a cricket life like that solely on the basis of unreliable media reports, suspicions, generalizations, statement by accused etc will be too distressing to bear for me. I am accused of conceding 14 runs for a paltry sum of Rs 10 lakhs, which is a preposterous suggestion as far as the remuneration of a First Class cricketer in the country is well known to everybody.
Till date I have not done anything wrong or improper to bring the name of cricket down in any manner whatever. I cannot think of any reason why I should be charged with a false and fantastic allegation of aligning with the bookies. Nothing of the kind has ever happened and will not ever happen in my cricket life.
As regards the charges I respectfully beg to submit that all of them as has been conceded in the report itself are based on media reports and not any concrete and reliable evidence. Fortunately the enquiry officer himself has recorded that his report is made in breach of all principles of natural justice in that before submitting the report no opportunity was given to me or to any others to know what is being put up against me or shown which materials are going to be relied on. It is respectfully pointed out the BCCI is an august body enjoying status and held as a "State" or "other authority" under the Constitution of India and therefore, all its actions must be fair and free of bias and consistent with principles of fairness and natural justice. The enquiry report itself proceeds on the basis that the aforesaid principles could not be fully complied with for the reasons stated above.
As regards the charges, I respectfully beg to submit as follows:
i. Fixing -- There is absolutely no reliable material even to find out a charge of fixing against me. What is relied upon is the alleged conversation between my friend Shri Jiju Janardhanan a fellow cricketer and some others. Shri Jiju Janardhanan is very much familiar with my mannerism and habit in the cricket field as he knows me from the age of 18. It is not uncommon to use a towel in afternoon matches particularly in a place like Mohali in the month of April-May. Enough photographs are there to show that in many of the earlier matches I played, white colour towel had been used by me. In fact even other well known cricketers use white towel as a matter of habit. Even in the very same match towels were used by other players. Apart from sheer coincidence nothing culpable can be attributed to me by reason of using a towel. The allegation that in the first over no towel was used cannot be correct.
ii. What is alleged as warming up against me is not really warming up but a manner of play which I did in other plays also.
iii. As regards conceding of 14 runs I may respectfully point out that there was no guarantee that the Captain will ask me to bowl in a particular over and if so, depending on the field, the pitch, batsman etc. the bowler will have to bowl. It may be stated here that my bowling is considered pace bowling estimated at an average of 135 km per hour and there is no guarantee for a bowler regarding the runs he is likely to concede unless deliberately either a no ball or wide is bowled. Conceding runs therefore, cannot be manipulated as alleged. There is no allegation that in the concerned second over any wide or no ball was bowled.
iv. As regards seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept any bribe there is no trace of evidence pointing out to any such incident at all.
v. There had been no failure or refusal on my part to perform my abilities in the Matches as all the balls bowled by me will show that I have done my best in bowling that day also.
vi. The charges of soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing etc under Article 2.1.4 cannot be even indicated against me as there is no trace of evidence.
vii. As regards Article 2.2.3 my explanation supra will answer and no knowledge of any bet can be attributed to me at all by any acceptable evidence.
viii. No gift and payment has ever been recovered by me and no evidence is available even with the police of any acceptance.
ix. Since there is no breach of conduct in violation of the BCCI rules there is no need on my part to disclose to the BCCI any such events.
x. It is alleged that Rs 5.5 lakhs has been recovered from bookie Abhishek Shukla based on information provided by me and Jiju Janardhanan. While I do not know what Shri Janardhanan said, I have not given any such information. If it has been so recorded it is false and forcibly obtained. The further allegation that the telephonic conversation between me and Jiju Janardhanan referred to sum of Rs 10 lakhs is false. No inference can be drawn that just for Rs 10 lakhs I will be throwing away a brilliant cricket career forgetting my duties to my country and the game of cricket.
xi. All the expenses made by me in Jaipur have been spent from my money as will be seen from the statement of accounts maintained by my bank. This has been referred by me in my application in a Delhi Court, which had accepted it. Every pie that has been spent is my own money. The allegation that in JW Marriot Hotel in Chandigarh, an unidentified girl was seen late night is false. It is common knowledge that number of girls stay in that hotel and the girl was not seen with me but was photographed in the passage of the hotel. It will be unfortunate to connect ladies who are seen in the passages with me or my friend, even without enquiry into who that lady was. The allegation is based entirely on tendentious media reports which cannot be taken into account in destroying a successful cricketer's career.
xii. There is no confusion recorded by me willingly to the police. The police have mentally and physically harassed me and obtained signed statements. Annexure-1 may be referred to in this regard. The conclusion arrived at by the Commissioner of Enquiry that I have committed offences in Para 9, it is submitted is based on conjectures, guesses, inferences, and inadmissible police reports. The police have not intercepted any conversation between me and any others in support of the wild and fantastic charges levelled against me which has put me into manifest injustice and prejudice as I had no opportunity to refute them. Before relying on that police reports, the Commissioner who conducted the enquiry has also not put them to me to ascertain my version. That is the reason why the Commissioner himself has recorded in the report in Para 13.
The report and the materials relied upon do not even come anywhere near broad probabilities in arriving at conclusions against me. In fact they are only guess work based on exaggerated media reports which were never put to me, or their veracity tested in any manner. It will be unduly harsh and unfair to end a person's cricket career and deprived him of his life and livelihood solely based on media reports which will not be touched by a Court of Law. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is a high powered body, which is expected to act fair, avoiding arbitrariness and without infracting any person's fundamental rights. I am put to very serious prejudice by not being given an opportunity to controvert the contents of a report before or at the time when it is prepared. It will be indeed hard on me to draw conclusions on such a report, the maker of which himself concedes it is incomplete, to put an end to my career as a cricketer and to cast indelible stigma forever. It is my reputation that will be adversely affected, which cannot be repaired at a later stage. I therefore, request the Board to desist from making conclusion on such imperfect, incomplete and unjust report.
xiii. There was no conduct on my part that will fall within the category of any offence.
I am therefore, constrained to deny all the charges put to me by the Board as wholly unsustainable, not even prima-facie established and I reiterate there is no violation of any of the quoted codes referred to in the notice under reply.
I therefore, emphatically deny all the charges subject to my reservation and restriction to give a full picture since the entire matter is pending trial before a criminal court. Suffice to say that the enquiry officer has not relied upon any material which will bear legal scrutiny even in a court of law. He has relied on media reports, statements of top police officers, newspaper clippings etc. none of which the apex court has held, will be evidence in a court of law, or in any enquiry leading to adverse consequences.
On such materials since I have already suffered ignominy of suspension from play from 15th May, 2013 till date, no further action like suspension etc. is warranted on the facts and circumstances unfolded before the BCCI. Whatever I had given in the statement marked as Annexure-1 represents the truth. Under the threat of arrest of my close relatives a statement was forcibly taken in the manner directed by the police. That cannot form the basis or material for presentation before a body like BCCI consisting of eminent persons well-versed in law. The principles of natural justice, fairness and transparent procedure are applicable to proceedings before the BCCI and since the enquiry officer himself has conceded that in view of the Supreme Court direction he did not comply in full with those principles, that may be particularly noticed.
Since the matter is subjudice I crave permission not to elaborate. However, it will not be out of place to mention that the court in which a charge against me and others was laid, the court on the 10th of September, 2013 expressed an opinion that not even any proved direct connection had been found on the materials presented before the court to any cricketers with the crime. The court has also observed there are missing links in the investigation. Prima facie therefore, as such present advised I take the liberty to point out that none of the charges levelled against me will hold-water.
However, considering the fact that the courts do take long time to ultimately adjudicate the issue, on such unsustainable charges if I am forbidden from entry in the cricket field which has become part of my life and is my life itself it will be a travesty of justice. I am determined to bring greater glory to the country by putting in my best in cricket again and will feel extremely distressed if I am prevented from participating in that game solely on the ground of some cooked up and false charges which cannot even be prima facie sustained at all by any material evidence. Such an action I crave leave to point out will amount to cutting short my cricket life forever without strong and sound reasons and will be violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. This I bring to the notice of a high power body like the BCCI, shall not be permitted to happen.
I therefore, humbly request that the BCCI may be pleased to declare that I have the necessary permission to play in national as well as International cricket despite the pendency of certain proceedings initiated against me without any supporting materials.
I shall be extremely grateful to the BCCI if it is pleased to consider the matter in the above perspective and graciously grant me the permission requested for.
Yours obediently, (S. Sreesanth)