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Spot-fixing: Pak's tainted trio to be sentenced

The judge, who convicted the three Pak cricketers and their agent for spot-fixing, on Wednesday deferred the pronouncement of sentences for today after the lawyers pleaded for leniency in the quantum of punishment.

cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2011 11:44 IST
news,hindustantimes,spot fixing

Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have been found guilty of spot-fixing and are likely to face jail terms of up to seven years. The sentence will be pronounced on Thursday.

The judge, who convicted the three Pakistan cricketers and their agent for spot-fixing, on Wednesday deferred the pronouncement of sentences for Thursday after the lawyers pleaded for leniency in the quantum of punishment.

Judge Jeremy Cooke said after a day-long hearing filled with drama that he would announce sentences to Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and their agent Majhar Majeed on Thursday.

The announcement came after the lawyers of the four convicted pleaded not to hand harsh punishments but only the minimum sentences to their clients.

Majeed's lawyer pointed fingers on Butt saying that the former Test captain was the main culprit in the betting scam.

"In the summer of 2009, it was Butt who initiated a discussion with Majeed for a possible fixing in the Twenty20 World Cup in England (which Pakistan won). He (Butt) told Majeed that he can ask his players to do spot-fixing," Majeed's lawyer told the court.

A battered Pakistan cricket was dealt a body blow on Tuesday when a former captain and one of its best bowlers were found guilty of taking bribes to fix part of a Test match against England.

Salman Butt, 27, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, are looking at seven years in a British jail for deliberately bowling no-balls at pre-arranged times during the Lord's Test in August 2010.

The third player, 19-year-old Mohammad Aamir, was not tried after he admitted his part in the scam in September.

Butt and Asif, who are out on bail, sat impassively in the dock as the Southwark Crown Court in southeast London convicted them in the case that prosecutors said revealed rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket.

The three players have already been banned by the International Cricket Council for a minimum of five years.

Tuesday's verdict is the first time that a British court has found sportsmen guilty in a betting scandal since 1964, when three Sheffield Wednesday footballers were given a four-month jail sentence for conspiring to lose a match.

After more than 17 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Butt and Asif of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling.

The spot-fixing betting scam was uncovered by the now-defunct News of the World (NOTW) tabloid. spot-fixing involves pre-arranging certain incidents rather than throwing away an entire match.

On the third day of the Lord's Test, the NOTW investigations editor reported that a London-based sports agent, Mazhar Majeed, had taken £150,000 from him as payment for getting the Pakistani quickies to bowl no-balls at specific points during the match.

The tabloid also put up a video on its website showing Majeed counting the cash and listing the exact points when Aamir and Asif would bowl the no-balls which they did.

The Scotland Yard detectives raided the rooms of the trio on August 28, 2010 and confiscated their mobile phones. Majeed and three men, not the cricketers, were arrested on suspicion of money-laundering.

First Published: Nov 03, 2011 08:41 IST