Pak to send FIA officials to probe the spot-fixing scandal

Karachi: Pakistan is sending Federal Investigation Agency officials to London to probe the allegation of the involvement of its cricketers in spot-fixing in the fourth cricket Test match against England at Lords.

The three-member delegation would fly to London immediately as the government had taken serious notice of the latest fixing scandal to involve Pakistan team, Pakistan`s Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.

"The FIA delegation will be headed by an additional director and they will not only assist but also carry out their own inquiries into the allegations made against our players," Malik said.

He pointed out that the government wanted to know the truth about the allegations against the players through its own investigating agency.

"The Scotland Yard is doing its own investigations, our team is there to assist them and also independently find out what has happened," Malik said.

Sources said the decision to send the FIA delegation had also come on the advice of Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan who has been involved in liasoning with the Scotland Yard since the allegations surfaced after the arrest of a 35-year-old Pakistani man, Mazhar in London.

Malik said the government would take serious action against any player(s) who it was confirmed had done any spot-fixing or taken bribes from any bookmaker or middleman.

"This issue has already hurt our image and that of Pakistan cricket and we want to know the truth. We want to be clear about our cricket future," he said, Malik said if players were found guilty the government would also hold a full scale inquiry into their total assets at home and in foreign bank accounts.

In late nineties, when the match-fixing scandal first broke out, the government`s accountability had investigated into the allegations of some of its players being involved in match fixing after Pakistan lost the 1999 World Cup final to Australia also at Lords.

But, after a lengthy investigation the government did not take any action against any player.

Action was also only taken against a few players after an 18-months judicial inquiry into the allegations between 1998 and 2000 by a former Lahore High Court judge on the recommendations of the board.

But the former judge who headed the inquiry, Malik Qayyum said yesterday "the spectre of match fixing had again raised its head because the government and board did not fully implement his recommendations one of which was to have an annual assessment of the financial statements and assets of players.


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