ICC asks tainted Pak trio’s lawyers to return “evidence” given to them after SMS leaks

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LAHORE - The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked lawyers representing the three suspended Pakistan players to return the evidence and other documentation provided to them as part of the process to defend the players against the spot-fixing allegations levelled against them, after an SMS trail between bookie Mazhar Majeed and suspended Test captain, Salman Butt surfaced in the Pakistani media.

“Yes they have asked us to return the documentation and other evidence they provided to us before and during the appeal hearing held in Dubai,” the Daily Times quoted the lawyer for Butt, as saying.

He confirmed that he and the other lawyer representing Salman had got a mail from the ICC in this regard, adding that they would have no problem in returning the material.

“Obviously the ICC believes that someone close to the players is responsible for leaking out confidential information that directly affects the case against the players. So, as a precautionary measure they have asked for the evidence and documents to be returned,” one source revealed.

But the lawyer insisted that the reason for the ICC directive was not because of any leakage of any confidential information or evidence.

“No such information has been leaked out as yet and this is a normal procedure that the lawyers can ask for relevant documents or evidence before the full hearing of the case in January,” the lawyer claimed.

Interestingly, even before the ICC had provided relevant documentation and evidence material to the lawyers preparing to defend the players, they had sent the same stuff to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), according to sources.

“Yes it is true the PCB is in possession of plenty of material including transcripts of SMS messages exchanged between the players and their agent Mazhar Majeed for the last three months now,” one source disclosed.

The matter apparently sprouted after a television channel leaked out some text messages allegedly exchanged between Butt and Mazhar earlier this year during a tournament.

According to details, Mazhar sent SMSes to Butt on three numbers, which were registered from England, Dubai and West Indies.

In his first SMS, Mazhar asked Butt if he talked with that person, to which the latter replied: “yes”.

In the second SMS, Mazhar asked (Butt) what he thought about the second thing, first in seventh and second in eighth, and this will only be possible after scoring in first two overs without losing any wicket.

Mazhar in his third SMS asked Butt to confirm about seventh and eighth, one wicket each in both.

Afterwards, Mazhar sent SMS to Pakistan wicket keeper Kamran Akmal’s number, and the latter has confirmed the usage of that number, the paper said.

The exchange of SMS allegedly took place before the ICC World Twenty20 against South Africa, according to a newspaper report. (ANI)

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