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Updated: April 20, 2011 00:35 IST

Ex-cricketer's anticipatory bail plea rejected

Legal Correspondent
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Jacob Martin.
The Hindu Jacob Martin.

In alleged illegal immigration case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of the former cricketer, Jacob Martin, who was issued a non-bailable arrest warrant (NBW) for his alleged involvement in an illegal immigration case.

A Bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and C.K. Prasad dismissed his special leave petition against a Delhi High Court order refusing to cancel the NBW issued by a trial court. He contended that the High Court had erred in refusing to cancel the NBW and dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.

Justice Bedi told the petitioner's counsel: “You have been declared as a proclaimed offender. Your bona fides are suspect. This case is of 2004. You can't keep away from law. You will have to join the investigation. You surrender and seek regular bail.”

On April 8, the High Court refused to grant him any relief saying the allegation against him was serious and he had done “disservice” to the game, which was close to the hearts of millions. Mr. Martin, an Indian Railways batsman, who had played 10 one-day internationals for India, is facing a Delhi police probe for his alleged involvement in an immigration racket. As per a criminal case registered in 2004, Mr. Martin, a native of Gujarat, had taken a group of young cricketers to England that year and had facilitated the “illegal stay” of one of them on the basis of forged documents.

According to the prosecution, one Nimesh Patel alleged that he paid nearly Rs.7 lakh to one Rajender Patel, the main agent, for facilitating the “illegal immigration,” and Mr. Martin was the “main beneficiary.” The police said Mr. Rajender Patel had nothing to do with the game and was subsequently deported by the British authorities for want of valid immigration papers.

“It prima facie appears to be a case of human trafficking behind the smoke screen of leading a cricket team abroad. The allegation against the petitioner is serious in nature,” the High Court had said, accepting the status report filed by the police. The present appeal is directed against this order.

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