After keeping quiet for a week, Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf on Wednesday denied spot-fixing allegations levelled against him during the Indian Twenty20 league.
Rauf, an International Cricket Council (ICC) elite panel umpire, was withdrawn by the governing body from the Champions Trophy in England following media reports that he was under police investigation."I vehemently deny allegations of match-fixing, spot-fixing, taking gifts (from bookies) and any illegal money," the 57-year-old said in his first public statement since returning from India.
Rauf said he was ready to face any inquiry by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit.
The spot fixing investigations started on May 16 after Delhi police arrested three Rajasthan Royals players, including S Sreesanth, for allegedly bowling poorly in exchange for huge sums of money from bookies.
Indian media had alleged that Rauf was in contact with Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested on charges of acting as a middleman between bookies, players and officials.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) distanced itself from the controversy, saying Rauf was under ICC control and the event was held in India, but assured action if the governing body ordered it.
Rauf, included in the Elite panel in 2006, said: "Fixing, illegal money and gifts have never been my topic nor my target. These allegations have no truth and this is all."
On his pullout from the Champions Trophy, Rauf said: “I want to make it clear that the ICC has withdrawn me from the Trophy, it has not removed me (from the panel).”
Rauf is the second Pakistani umpire to come under the fixing scanner. Another ex-international panel umpire was banned for four years in April following a sting operation by an Indian channel which showed him agreeing to fix matches.