The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Freed from ban, Jadeja can pick up bat for India again

New Delhi, Jan. 27: Cricketer Ajay Jadeja is free to don India’s colours again. A court arbitrator has quashed the five-year ban clamped on him by the cricket board.

Justice J.K. Mehra, Delhi High Court’s arbitrator in the match-fix controversy, today lifted the ban, dismissing the findings of the K. Madhavan Commission that had been set up by the BCCI to probe allegations of malpractice cited in a CBI report in October 2000.

“I hold Madhavan’s report to be illegal and against the principles of natural justice and contrary to law and I set aside the same and I also set aside the findings of the disciplinary committee and ban imposed on Jadeja on December 5, 2000,” the retired high court judge said.

The BCCI, however, has the right to challenge the arbitrator’s ruling. This evening the board declined comment.

“I am very happy with the decision. I am hoping to make a comeback soon,” Jadeja said.

“Jadeja has a right to play domestic and international cricket at all levels as if the ban was not there, but of course subject to his selection by the authorities concerned,” the arbitrator, who took a little over two months to give his ruling, said.

Jadeja had moved Delhi High Court on February 8, 2001, challenging the BCCI ban stopping him from playing cricket for India for five years after the Madhavan commission report.

The arbitrator said in Jadeja’s case, clear and definite charges were not framed and statements of witnesses not provided to the cricketer for examination and cross-examination.

“There is no manner of doubt that on the basis of such an inquiry no proceedings could be initiated against the petitioner and therefore the entire action against the petitioner on the basis of the said inquiry is against the basic principles of law and is liable to be set aside,” he said.

Justice Mehra also pointed out that Madhavan, a former CBI joint director, did not disclose to Jadeja that he was a legal adviser to the BCCI and refused assistance of a lawyer to the cricketer.

He said the BCCI “acted in haste and (with a) pre-determined mind” in punishing Jadeja.

Madhavan said: “I gave my report according to what I thought was appropriate based on the evidence that I had and the powers I had. On that report, the BCCI decided to ban Jadeja in its discretion.”

The arbitrator’s decision setting aside the commission report as well as the findings of the disciplinary committee of the BCCI would have a bearing on the board’s decision to ban former captain Mohammed Azharuddin for life. On January 29, 2001, Azhar had challenged the decision before the chief civil judge of Hyderabad.

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