Spot-fixing: Tainted Pak trio plead "not guilty" to ICC

Islamabad, Sept 15 (ANI): In a bid to contest disciplinary action, the three Pakistani cricketers suspended and charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) under its anti-corruption code over spot-fixing allegations, have entered a plea of not guilty, demanding the provisional suspensions to be lifted.

The tainted trio- Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer- implicated in the match-fixing scandal in last month's final Test against England, have indicated their intention to defend themselves in respect of the disciplinary action brought against them in their written submissions to the ICC, the Daily Times reports.

"The players have also expressed concern that the ICC's investigation could prejudice the police investigation, and have requested additional time to respond fully to the charges. The ICC has granted additional time. The players remain willing to cooperate in full with the ICC. No further comment will be made at this time," said a statement released by Elizabeth Robertson, the cricketers' London-based lawyer.

The trio responded to cricket's governing body by replying to the charges through their lawyer two days before the deadline was set to expire, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said.

However, ICC officials declined to comment on receiving the replies from the suspended players. "The ICC will not rush into any sort of decision. It might take a lot of time and nobody really knows how much before anything is decided," said a source close to the investigation.

It is noteworthy that the players had a meeting with the PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt, yesterday but the details of the meeting were not revealed, as police and the PCB have barred the players from speaking to the media.

While media reports suggest two other players Kamran Akmal and Salman were also notified by the ICC in a separate case of match-fixing, the Pakistan government has decided to conduct its own inquiry after receiving a report from Scotland Yard.

The cricketers were left out of the squad for the two Twenty20 internationals at Cardiff and for the forthcoming five-match one-day series, prior to the ICC provisionally suspending them while their own investigation into the claims is ongoing.

British police, after interrogating them, levelled no charges and allowed the trio to return home, on an undertaking that they would return to Britain when required. The players will now go through an ICC hearing over the unspecified charges contained in the governing body's code of conduct. (ANI)

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