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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Pakistan agency sends team to probe corruption

Pakistan agency sends team to probe corruption

August 31, 2010 16:22 IST

Pakistan's top crime investigative agency will send a team to Britain this week to probe corruption allegations against some of the country's cricket players, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Investigations by British police and the International Cricket Council (ICC) are already underway into a newspaper report alleging three Pakistan players had been bribed to fix incidents in last week's fourth Test against England.

London police have confiscated the mobile phones of Test captain Salman Butt as well as pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, and the trio - plus wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal have been questioned at the team's hotel.

A senior official at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Karachi said the three-member team was likely to leave for London on Wednesday and planned to meet British police and players.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who is the patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has also sought reports from Pakistani officials in London, according to his official spokesman.

"The President is in touch with the High Commissioner in London and has asked for reports on the issue," Farhatullah Babar said.

The Pakistan team arrived in Taunton in west England on Monday to play a warm-up game for two Twenty20 internationals and a five-match one-day series against England, which starts on Sunday.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said the players being investigated would not be suspended without proof of wrongdoing, however.

"There is a case going on over here with Scotland Yard," Ijaz told website cricinfo.com.

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"This is only an allegation. There is still no charge or proof on that account. So at this stage there will be no action taken."

The ICC's anti-corruption unit has been asked to submit a report on its investigation within the next three days, the world governing body's president Sharad Pawar said on Monday.

"We at the ICC are waiting for definite information from the PCB and our own anti-corruption unit. We hope to get something in the next two to three days' time and that information would lead to appropriate action, if required," he said.

Pawar has ruled out the possibility of Pakistan cutting short their tour of England.

On Monday, the police said they had released on bail a 35-year-old man who had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following the report in Britain's News of the World newspaper.

According to the report, Mazhar Majeed, an agent who claimed to represent 10 Pakistan players including Butt, said Amir and Asif had bowled three no-balls between them by pre-arrangement in the fourth Test against England which finished on Sunday.

The report also cast doubt on the second Test between Pakistan and Australia in Sydney this year when the hosts staged a remarkable comeback to win by 36 runs after overcoming a 206-run first-innings deficit.

The scandal has outraged cricket fans in Pakistan and the country's federal sports minister, Mir Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani, said the players would be given "maximum punishment" if allegations against them were proved.

"No one has the right to play with the dignity, honour of the country," he said. "If the allegations are proved then there could be maximum punishment.

"It could be lifetime ban, it could be anything, it depends on the allegations."

Source:
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