Friday, 21 October 2011

Mohammad Asif points to former Pakistan captain Salman Butt in spot-fixing trial

LONDON - Pakistan bowler Mohammad Asif suggested from a court witness stand on Friday that his former captain and co-defendant Salman Butt had to have been involved with an alleged spot-fix to bowl no-balls during a test match against England last year — but stopped short of a definitive accusation.

Butt and Asif are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments following the Lord's test when they allegedly conspired with agent Mazhar Majeed, teenager Mohammad Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.
At the stand for a second day, Asif was more argumentative and passionate in his exchanges with chief prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC than on Thursday.
Asif was being cross-examined by Jafferjee when the bowler raised the role of Butt in the suspect no-ball that Asif had bowled on the sixth ball of the 10th over. The no-ball had been predicted by Majeed after he was handed 140,000 pounds ($223,000) by an undercover journalist who was secretly recording their meeting.
Asif again denied being part of the alleged fix, but inferred that such a fix could not have been arranged without the involvement of Butt who, as captain, would be the only one to know who would be bowling at any given time.
"The captain knows," Asif said of the bowling order. "What I have told you the last two days the captain knows. He is the one who brings them on."
Jafferjee indicated that Asif's comments effectively meant that Butt was central to the alleged fix.
"You're telling me it's down to Butt aren't you?," Jafferjee said. Asif replied: "You can see the CD what he (Majeed) is saying."
The prosecutor also asked Asif why, if he was not involved in a fix, did Majeed call him 59 seconds after leaving the rendezvous with the journalist with a briefcase stuffed with cash on the night before the test.
"Was he calling you about a sponsorship deal or to arrange dinner Mr Asif?" Jafferjee said sarcastically.
"You think he's calling me to do the fix?" Asif asked.
"He's already done the fix," Jafferjee said. "Now he wants you to know about it."
Asif countered by asking Jafferjee why the call lasted only 16 seconds if they were talking about fixing.
"If we were talking about something as big as this do you think we would only need 16 seconds?" Asif asked. AP

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