Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Spot-fixing case: Salman Butt tells London court about Majeed's 'suspicious' text

Tainted Pakistan cricketer Salman Butt has said that he was "suspicious" and had challenged his former agent, Mazhar Majeed, over involvement in match fixing at the World Twenty20 tournament in 2010.

A text message Butt received from Majeed during the tournament was recovered from his mobile phone and put before London's Southwark crown court, which has been hearing the spot-fixing case.

"Other thing, in the seventh, eighth over, one fall in each. This will only work if you score in the first two overs and no wickets," The Guardian quoted Majeed, as having saying in his text message.

Butt gave most of his testimony in English, but switched to Punjabi when asked by his lawyer, Ali Bajwa, if he confronted Majeed about the message.

Butt responded through an interpreter: "Yes. You must understand that I must report these things if they come up."

"He said, 'I am your friend and I have known you many years' he said 'I am just checking if you are doing something dodgy or not'. He said he was trying to test me with something non-serious," Butt was quoted as saying.

"Anyone in my place would have had suspicions about it. I did not expect this thing to come up. I had known him for years and he had never done this before," he added.

The former Pakistan captain then gave an explaination for failing to report the agent's text to the cricketing authorities.

"I'd worked with him a couple of years. This is someone I know. If it [happened] how he explained it to me there was no way the ICC [should] find out. The only way of working was to have a good relation so I took his word," he said.

Butt's lawyer claimed in court that Mohammad Amir - who along with Majeed, Butt and the bowler Mohammad Asif is charged with cheating at gambling and accepting corrupt payments but is not currently standing trial - was involved in a "criminal conspiracy".

"I anticipate everyone can agree on one thing: that there was a criminal conspiracy between Majeed and Mohammad Amir," said Bajwa. "Majeed told the former News of the World journalist [Mazher Mahmood, whose expos� ultimately led to the charges] when Amir would bowl a no ball."

"He called Amir and said he should do 'everything as discussed before'. He did precisely as told and then couldn't do the other no ball because rain stopped play. Each time Amir bowled a no ball he overstepped by a considerable difference. We concede that is strong evidence between Majeed and Amir and that there could not be any sensible innocent explanation for it," he added.

"Are we sure Butt was in on a criminal conspiracy? Butt was not and had never allowed himself become a party to it," Bajwa said.

The trial continues. (ANI)

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