The order of the Additional Sessions Judge Vinay Kumar Khanna of the Saket court in Delhi releasing Sreesanth on bail is a severe indictment of the investigating agency for invoking the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA against the accused in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing charges.
The judge observed that there was no satisfactory material on record to indicate any nexus of the accused with the ‘underworld’ or any organized crime syndicates, and on the basis of mere conjectures and surmises, no such link between the accused and the alleged hardcore criminals can be inferred.
“There is nothing on record that any of applicants used violence, coercion, or intimidated any other person or extorted money or was engaged in any other unlawful activity. Alleged acts attributed to the accused prima facie are not covered within meaning of ‘continuing unlawful activity’ as defined under section 2 (d) MCOCA or come within the purview of the statement of objects and reasons of MCOCA,” the order, a copy of which is with The Hindu, read.
The order observed that it cannot be reasonably inferred from the factual matrix brought to the notice of the court that acts of the accused come within the definition of ‘abetment’ as defined in Section 2 (1) (a) of MCOCA. There is no satisfactory and sufficient material on record to attribute ‘actual knowledge’ and mens rea (Latin for guilty mind) on the part of accused to show that bookies were engaged in any manner with an ‘organized crime syndicate.’
In fact, the court goes on to demolish Delhi Police’s ground for slapping the accused with charges even under various sections of IPC.
“The court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that applicants are not likely to be held guilty of any offences under section 3 & 4 MCOCA, on the basis of materials collected so far. This court also finds that prima facie, the acts ascribed to the applicant/accused cannot be brought within the purview of section 420 IPC or under section 409 IPC,” the order said.