SC dismisses former cricketers bail plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of former cricketer Jacob Martin, facing arrest for alleged involvement in an emigration racket, saying no relief can be granted to him as he is running away from the law, and asked him to surrender.

A bench headed by Justice H S Bedi, which refused to quash a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against Martin in the case, said that "he has been declared a proclaimed offender" in the case and "he is running away from the law."

The bench turned down the former cricketer`s plea for 24 hours` time to surrender. 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 emigration racket.

"For getting anticipatory bail, you have to show bonafide but your bonafide is very suspect," the court said.

The court passed the order on an appeal filed by the Martin challenging the Delhi High Court order refusing to cancel the non-bailable arrest warrant against him and dismissing his anticipatory bail plea.

The High Court had on April 8 refused to grant him any relief saying the allegation against him is serious and he has done "disservice" to the game which is close to the hearts of millions.

As per a criminal case registered in 2004, 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 had alleged that he paid nearly Rs seven lakh to one Rajender Patel, the main agent for facilitating the "illegal emigration", and Martin was the "main beneficiary".

The police had said that 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 while accepting the status report filed by the police in the case.

Expressing anguish over Martin`s conduct, the court had said, "He claims to be an international cricket player, who has represented India abroad but prima facie appears to be illegally attempting to send people abroad by making them pose as cricket players, while they did not have even the basic knowledge of the game."