Pakistani umpire claims innocence in IPL betting scandal

Karachi, Sep 22 (IANS) Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who has been formally charged by Mumbai police in the IPL betting scandal, claimed innocence and said he was even ready to face the investigators of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Rauf said he has no links with bookies and would seek legal advice to prove his innocence. Rauf is among the wanted Pakistani accused named in the charge sheet by Mumbai police.

"Discussion and information are two separate things. We can discuss things with people but sharing information is different. I will get in touch with my legal adviser and then I can tell you," Rauf was quoted as saying by a Pakistani newspaper Daily Times.

Asked if he knew Vindoo Dara Singh, who was also named in the charge sheet, Rauf said he has thousands of friends but cannot be responsible for their misdeeds.

"I have thousands of friends but that doesn't mean that if my friends does something then I also have to do anything with that. Let them prove something. I mean, if it was the case that I have taken a favour or a gift or money was given to me... you got to prove allegations," said Rauf.

Rauf said he was also willing to explain his stand to the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit.

"I have been an employee of ICC. ICC have their own Anti-Corruption Unit. Like police, they also investigate. When they call me, I will answer them through my legal adviser. I have done five IPLs and my decisions have been 100 per cent correct. I will answer to ICC regarding my allegations," Rauf said.

After the scandal came to light during the IPL in May, Rauf quietly left for Pakistan. In June, the ICC removed him from the elite panel of umpires and in July the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) refused to nominate his name for the ICC's international and elite panels of officials.

Besides 22 accused and eight wanted accused, the charge sheet has named many Indian and Pakistani bookies, several of whom were arrested in Mumbai when the scam surfaced in May.

Running into more than 11,500 pages, the charge sheet has indicted the accused for offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Mumbai Police Act, and the IT and gambling acts.

The police have named around 200 witnesses, attached half a dozen forensic reports, and mentioned 181 seizures pertaining to the case.

The police have also cited phone records, CCTV footage clips, SIM card details and other evidence in the charge sheet.

The spot-fixing scam erupted in May with the arrest of some cricketers and bookies in separate operations mounted by Delhi Police and Mumbai police.

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