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|ICC's anti-corruption report indicts Pak team|
Monday, February 2 2004 19:39 Hrs (IST)
Documents obtained by a daily 'The News' confirm that in two letters sent by the ACU director Lord Paul Condon to the PCB, concerns were voiced over the movements of some Pakistan team members. The letters also contained allegations that the team under-performed in two One-day tournaments in 2002, in Morocco and Kenya.
Condon did write in one of these letters, dated September 29, 2002, "None of the allegations of match-fixing or under-performance made in relation to Pakistan in recent weeks are capable of proof, at this stage, for judicial or cricket disciplinary purposes. And that all the sources might be wrongand there might an innocent explanation for all the above".
"Nevertheless, a worrying amount of information is being received from different sources in different countries and I place it before you in case it resonates with your own information and anxieties about recent results," he wrote.
The ACU advice last year could be based on such information PCB sought when the Lahore High Court instructed it to review the appeal filed by Wasim Akram.
Wasim, one of world cricket's all-time fast bowling greats and Pakistan's leading wicket-taker in Tests and One-day Internationals, had filed an appeal against the fine and sanctions imposed on him by the Justice Malik Qayyum match-fixing inquiry commission in May 2000.
The Qayyum Commission had fined five players including Wasim and also said in its recommendations to the Board that Wasim should not be appointed as captain again. The Lahore High Court Bench that heard Wasim's appeal directed the PCB to hear him out and review his case just before the World Cup.
However, the Board has failed to follow these directives even one year after the court's instructions.
The official ICC documents confirm that PCB was influenced by the ACU feedback and the fact that the ICC Code of Conduct Commission was not satisfied with the findings of the Justice Karamat Bhandari report on the World Cup match-fixing allegations against the Pakistani players.
"Wasim was called to Lahore from England in early May by Lt General Tauqir Zia and both had a closed doors meeting," a PCB source confirmed. It was soon after this meeting that Wasim announced his retirement from all cricket and since then has also not pursued the appeal.
What is not known is whether the PCB carried out its own inquiry into allegations by the ACU in its September letter that the Pakistan team might have under-performed in Morocco and Kenya.
A variety of sources including match officials, players, informants, journalists and police sources have raised doubts with my unit about some matches and some players," Condon reportedly wrote in his September letter.
"Of particular relevance to you is the allegation that the Pakistan team under-performed to order in Morocco and Kenya for betting purposes. Sources suggest that the Bhandari report, having cleared the team of malpractice in the last World Cup, gave Wasim Akram and perhaps others the confidence to fix matches," Condon alleged in his letter.
"It is suggested that the person primarily responsible for arranging the under-performance is a businessman from Delhi, about whom another businessman had given information. The Indian businessman, accused of a role in the present instance, was also mentioned in the CBI report on match-fixing in 2000," he wrote.
"As agreed with you, I have enclosed a copy of the statement my unit took from an Indian businessman recently. You will see that in the statement the businessman alleges a relationship between (the other businessman) and cricketers, including - (Pakistani players' names withheld) - at the time of the World Cup in 1999," Condon wrote.
In the same letter Condon wrote that several meetings had taken place during the ICC knockout tournament in Colombo in early September 2002 in or near the Hotel Hilton, a hotel where the players were not even staying.
He wrote that two senior Pakistani players were regularly seen in the company of an unidentified Sri Lankan man in Hilton and the man according to Sri Lankan sources is said to be involved in criminal activities and whose background was being traced with the help of Interpol.
The ACU chief also informed Tauqir in his letter that a Pakistani player also used the room occupied by the Sri Lankan man for a tryst with a Russian prostitute.
"I believe it is my duty to bring these matters to your notice so that, when added to information you already have, you may wish to take radical action about team selection and related issues. Of cource if evidence is available we will all wish to take criminal or disciplinary action against the relevant players," Condon wrote.
With reference to the PCB seeking the ICC views on reviewing Wasim's position, Condon wrote on March 22, 2003 to PCB Director Chishty Mujahid: "I do understand that you may have been directed by the Pakistan legal system to conduct a review (of Wasim's appeal). However, you may feel that as a result of the points I have raised at 1 and 2 above it would be unwise for any review to come to a conclusion before these issues are resolved."
The second point raised by Condon in his letter read: "In Sri Lanka during the ICC Championship tournament in 2002 I personally briefed General Zia about some anxieties I had about (Pakistani player name witheld). I mentioned a meeting between him and a Sri Lankan man whom it was suggested by Sri Lankan sources was involved in criminality.
"We have traced the identity used by the Sri Lankan man who left Sri Lanka after contact with the Pakistan team and we are seeking to interview him in the near future.
"As a result of the points I have raised above, it would be unwise for any review to come to a conclusion before these issues are resolved," he wrote.