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British tabloid sting busts match-fixing racket; Scotland Yard arrests London bookie for rigging Pakistan-England Lord’s Test


An undercover team of the UK tabloid News of the World approached a London-based bookie Mazhar Majeed, who claimed that cricketers were getting huge sums from betting syndicates to rig match results. Majeed said he had the Pakistan captain Salman Butt and six more players in his pocket. The bookie was paid £150,000 and the Pakistan pace duo, Mohammded Amir and Mohammed Asif, delivered the no-balls exactly at the time promised by the bookie during the Lord’s Test.


The Scotland Yard has swung into action and launched a probe into the betting scandal. Scotland Yard sleuths visited the Pakistan dressing room immediately after the third day’s play to question the players. They also went to the Pakistan team’s hotel and inspected players’ rooms. Reports said a hefty sum of money was recovered from some of the rooms. Mobile phones of players have also been seized.


A stunned Pakistan cricket fraternity on Sunday reacted with shock and anger to the latest 'spot-fixing' scandal that rocked the national team in the fourth Test against England at Lord's. Although London Metropolitan police had only arrested one Mazhar Majeed for allegedly paying bribes to some players to spot-fix the ongoing Test and no cricketer has not been charged but the cricket community here felt damage has already been done to the game.

London/Karachi, August 29
Yet another match-fixing scandal rocked Pakistan cricket today engulfing its captain Salman Butt, brilliant pace duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and four other players, leading to the arrest of a bookie in London and questioning of the players by the Scotland Yard after a tabloid sting.

The ‘News of the World’ tabloid alleged that a Pakistani man Mazhar Majeed, who is now under arrest, had paid bribes to the players to bowl no-balls in the series and the Lord’s Test.

Scotland Yard detectives visited the Pakistan dressing room immediately after the third day’s play to question the players. “Scotland Yard detectives had visited the team hotel and took statements of Butt, Asif, Aamir and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal,” Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said.

“The police have also spoken to me and we are trying to cooperate with them in every way possible and we are giving them whatever information they want,” Yawar said.

The video evidence that the tabloid has presented also shows Majeed talking about his links with Indian bookies.

The International Cricket Council said it was aware of the developments but made it clear that the fourth day’s play of the Test will continue as scheduled.

“No players nor the team officials have been arrested in relation to this incident and the fourth Test match will continue as scheduled on Sunday. As this is now subject to a police investigation neither the ICC, the ECB, the PCB nor the ground authority, the MCC, will make any further comment,” an ICC statement said.

Sources said the sleuths had gathered some evidence from the hotel after raiding the players’ room.

The embattled Pakistan team has also gotten in touch with their High Commission in London for assistance. Confirming this, Yawar said: The High Commissioner is also in touch with the Scotland Yard.”

An accomplice of Majeed has also been picked up by the police for questioning. Majeed, 35, was arrested late last night after the tabloid handed over details of its sting operation to the Scotland Yard. The bookie claims to have paid some players in excess of £ 150,000 to fix the Test match.

“The police have carried out preliminary questioning of some players. Majeed is an old associate and friend of many Pakistani players and is settled in London. He has been seen regularly with the players on the tour,” a source said.

“The sad part for the Pakistan cricket is that several leading players are said to be involved in this new scandal which could cause untold damage to Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Pakistani TV channels reported that the players had been sounded off about the inquiry when the third day’s play ended.

“That is why the players left early for the hotel without anyone attending the mandatory post-play press conference,” a source said.

Pakistan had reduced England to 47 for five and then 102 for seven on second day at Lord’s but Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad scored centuries to share a record eighth-wicket partnership of 332 runs.

The two Pakistanis who bowled no-balls allegedly on directions from Majeed were Asif and Aamir. Both bowlers delivered three no-balls on Thursday and Friday. — PTI





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