LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media director Amjad Hussain Bhatti said on Thursday that the PCB has issued notices to Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, the two main accused in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scandal, under PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code.
According to Amjad, since both players hold central contracts issued by the PCB, they are both answerable to the regulator regarding their conduct.
Both players must now respond swiftly to the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Unit, Amjad added.
While speaking to the media outside the PCB headquarters on Thursday, PCB chairman Shahryar Khan said the two players will be formally indicted once all legal formalities have been carried out.
“They had asked for time to speak to their families and now the time has lapsed,” Shaharyar said. “Sharjeel and Latif will now give their official statements, which will be recorded on video,” he added.
All legal formalities will be met, says PCB chief
“We have spoken to them informally and the formal talk will be held in 1-2 days. After this, we will give them a notice. We have to make sure that our legal process is complete because they can approach the court later,” Shaharyar said.
“Our stance needs to be water-tight legally which is why we are speaking to them informally and informing them of charges against them. They told us they wanted to speak to their families first and the time for that is over. Now they have to be formally indicted and their statement will be recorded,” the chairman added.
Meanwhile, sources close to the development said the two players failed to satisfy the PCB about their role in alleged spot-fixing.
“They failed to satisfy PCB’s anti-corruption committee. Sharjeel opened a Pandora’s Box when he was asked about first five balls played by him in the tournament’s first match,” a source in the PCB said.
“Both Sharjeel and Khalid could not give satisfactory answers about their alleged contacts with Nasir Jamshed and a bookie who were arrested by UK police,” the source further said.
The two cricketers have been advised to plead guilty if they want to minimise the penalties they are going to face.
The source confirmed that Khalid, who earlier offered to become an approver, was offered by a top official of the board to confess his mistake and plead guilty. A similar offer has been made to Sharjeel as well.
“If players confess their mistake in hearing and plead guilty, then their penalty is likely to be minimised from what they are going to face,” said the source.
After the hearing, he said, the players have been asked to file details of their mobile communication, travel, meetings and activities in UAE.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi and Shaharyar had given some contradictory statements regarding the scandal. While Sethi said he had known about spot-fixing at PSL beforehand, even before the tournament began but players were allowed to continue playing as authorities gave them the benefit of the doubt, Shaharyar declined this view.
According to Sethi, it was only after the authorities found credible information on the players’ involvement in spot-fixing that the decision to suspend them was made.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2017