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Police allowed Pak team to return to avoid diplomatic crisis

cricket Updated: Mar 26, 2007 13:17 IST

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Jamaican Police reluctantly allowed the Pakistan team to go home to avoid a diplomatic crisis but they are now working to ensure that the cricketers return in case the investigation into Bob Woolmer's murder demands.

Deputy Commissioner of Jamaican Police Mark Shields said that he was "powerless" and had to let the Pakistani cricketers go.

The former Scotland Yard detective said he did not have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with Woolmer's murder and trying to stop the Pakistani players "would have caused a significant diplomatic incident and have an extremely adverse effect on the World Cup".

It would have created an uproar "if I had started holding people against their will", he said.

Mr Shields, however, said that he was negotiating with Pakistani diplomats Zahid Hafeez Chaudhuri and Said Ahmad, who had arrived in Jamaica from the United States, to make provision for the cricketers' return if they needed to be questioned again.

Though there is no extradition treaty between Jamaica and Pakistan, Mr Shields referred to a 1996 case where Zeeshan Pervez, was sent back from Pakistan to face a rape trial in Kingston.

Both the Pakistani diplomats were shown the crime scene room 374 by Mr Shields to convey the message that the investigation was "open and transparent".

Later, Mr Chaudhuri confirmed, "Our objective is to provide all necessary cooperation to the Government of Jamaica."

Meanwhile, as the probe spreads its wings, the sleuths will also take DNA samples and fingerprints from West Indies captain Brian Lara, whose room was opposite to Woolmer's on the 12th floor of the Pegasus hotel.

Lara, along with rest of the West Indies and Ireland squad, has already been interviewed.

Police were also carefully studying the "critically important" closed-circuit television tapes on the 12th floor.

"I am very optimistic. If the quality is as good as I hope it is they will help us significantly in our investigation of who went on to the 12th floor that Sunday, or Saturday night", Mr Shields said.

Records of every door keycard in the hotel were also being studied to monitor movements in and out of rooms.

"Its a huge task. But when we do that we get the time of death," he said.

Police are also examining Woolmers laptop for clues.

"We have not managed to eliminate anybody. Everybody at the moment is a witness, but we do not have more suspicion about one person over another. Murder is not solved in 45 minutes like it is on TV. In reality its not like that", Mr Shields said.

Woolmer, 58, was strangled to death on March 18.

Mr Shields also reiterated that Woolmer knew his killer.

"It is very difficult for someone to walk off the street and go up to Bob Woolmers room and murder him", he said.