IPL spot fixing controversy: Confusion over jurisdiction issue

The Indian Premier League spot-fixing controversy reached three different courts due to jurisdiction issue over MCOCA charges © IANS (Representational Photo)

New Delhi: Aug 16, 2013

An unusual situation was witnessed on Friday in the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case which reached three different courts due to jurisdiction issue over MCOCA charges, invoked against the accused, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his aide Chhota Shakeel and cricketer S Sreesanth.

Finally after over 90 minutes, which saw lawyers scurrying from one courtroom to another, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma fixed August 26 for hearing the bail pleas of nine accused, including suspended Rajasthan Royals player Ajit Chandila.

The case, which was fixed for arguments on the bail pleas of the nine accused, first came up for hearing before Additional Sessions Judge(ASJ) Daya Prakash but special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan raised the jurisdiction issue saying the court was not empowered to hear matters under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The prosecutor told the court that although it has been designated as the special court to deal with cases of special cell of Delhi Police, it lacked jurisdiction to try the cases under the MCOCA. The police has invoked the provisions of MCOCA against all the accused in the IPL spot fixing case.

The case, which was recently transferred to the court of ASJ Prakash, was then transferred to District Judge IS Mehta for clarification on the jurisdiction issue.

The prosecutor and defence counsel, thereafter, appeared before the District Judge for clarification on the issue and after hearing brief submissions, the court transferred the case to Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma saying his court was designated to hear the matters under the MCOCA.

After the clarification, the matter was transferred to the court of ASJ Sharma who fixed August 26 for hearing the bail pleas of nine accused.

Besides Chandila, the court would hear the bail pleas of bookies Jitender Kumar Jain, Ashwani Agarwal, Ramesh Vyas, Deepak Kumar, Sunil Bhatia and Firoz Farid Ansari, ex-Ranji player Baburao Yadav and Chandra Prakash Jain alias Chandresh Jain, who was allegedly accepting bets by the name of Jupiter.

These nine accused are presently in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police’s CID on Friday, approached the court seeking transit remand of Chandresh Jain. ASJ Sharma would consider the plea on August 21.

The police had filed its charge sheet in the case and had alleged that Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel, who have been “controlling the fixing and betting market” in cricket in India, were behind the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

The police, which named 39 persons as accused including Rajasthan Royals’ S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Chandila, said the syndicate run by Dawood and his aide has been actively operating from safe havens, with the singular objective of de-stabilising Indian security, sovereignty and economic stability.

The charge sheet said that Dr Javed Chutani, a Pakistani national, is an inner member of the Dawood syndicate and runs his various activities out of Dubai and the intercepted calls clearly establish that he is a clear player in this fixing syndicate.

The charge sheet says that the probe in this case, has unearthed “sufficient evidence” to prosecute the accused for the offence punishable under section 120 B (conspiracy) read with 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the provisions the stringent MCOCA.

The Delhi Police had on May 16 arrested Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan on the charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust.

In the same case, the court had on June 10 granted bail to Sreesanth, Chavan and 19 others for lack of evidence against them to be charged under MCOCA.