ECB bans Kaneria for life
London: Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has been given life ban by the England and Wales Cricket Board for his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case.
Apart from Kaneria, the ECB also imposed a five-year ban on Westfield but he will be able to play in the final two years of his punishment.
"We regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities," an ECB disciplinary committee said in a statement.
"Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose.
"This means from today Danish Kaneria is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organisation or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB," the release added.
The ECB disciplinary panel has found Kaneria guilty of corruption in relation to the spot-fixing case, while Westfield was also charged with one offence under the ECB's regulations to which he pleaded guilty.
Both players were charged last month in the wake of Westfield's imprisonment. Kaneria was implicated in spot-fixing during Westfield's trial at London's Central Criminal Court but denied the allegations.
The disciplinary panel, which consisted of Gerard Elias QC, David Gabbitass and Jamie Dalrymple, concluded, "Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match."
Westfield, a former Essex fast bowler, was jailed for four months in January after he admitted underperforming in a Pro40 match against Durham in September 2009.
Kaneria, Essex's overseas player for several seasons, was named by the judge at the Old Bailey as the orchestrator of the plot but he was never charged by the police, on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
It was confirmed that Kaneria had been warned for his links with bookmaker Anu Bhatt by the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) back in 2008 from which Alan Peacock, the senior investigator, provided evidence.
The panel were highly critical of Kaniera's evidence.
"We consider that in many respects the evidence of Danish Kaneria simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is plainly lies.
The hearing threw further light on Kaneria's relationship with Bhatt whose role was not specifically referred to in the criminal trial. The tribunal ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Bhatt was the "Asian businessmen" involved in setting up the deal with Kaneria and Westfield.
"There is no doubt - and no suggestion to the contrary - that one of the Asian men referred to by Westfield was Anu Bhatt. Indeed, Danish Kaneria admits introducing Westfield to Bhatt in Dukes nightclub and confirms in his evidence that Bhatt was in Durham and attended the match with tickets obtained by Kaneria for him."
In summing up, the panel said of Kaneria: "We utterly
reject his account of the telephone calls and texts to and from Anu Bhatt during the vital days in question. Analysis of the length, sequence and timing of these calls simply does not permit of the innocent explanations given by Kaneria.
"If, as we find, he is lying about these calls and texts, there can only be one logical reason - to tell the truth would be damning," they further stated.
"Further, we reject as nonsensical Kaneria's claim that his invitation to Bhatt to attend Dukes Nightclub was in order to keep him at arms length or similarly that obtaining tickets for him in Durham was with the same object. Again, we have no doubt that to tell the truth would implicate Kaneria as the link in the chain between Westfield and Bhatt."
"There were many other unsatisfactory aspects to Danish Kaneria's evidence - not least the grasp of detailed recollections years after the event when two years before little more than a glimmer of recollection appeared to surface."
"However, in the light of our findings as to the significant aspects of Westfield and Kaneria's evidence, it is perhaps unnecessary to dwell any further on the evidence of Danish Kaneria. We reject his basic account that he had nothing to do with any arrangement between Westfield and Bhatt - indeed we are sure that he facilitated it."
The PCB have indicated they will honour any sanctions handed out by the ECB to Kaneria.