London, Feb 5 (PTI) British prosecutors have chargedPakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and MohammadAamer with corruption offences and their extradition to theUnited Kingdom will be sought if they fail to return to thiscountry voluntarily.
The three players along with their agent, Mazhar Majeed,are set to face charges of accepting corrupt payments andconspiracy to cheat, for their alleged involvement inspot-fixing in the Lord''s Test during the team''s tour ofEngland last summer.
Simon Clements, head of the Crown Prosecution Service(CPS) Special Crime Division, said: "We have decided thatMohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent,Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain andaccept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat."
"These charges relate to allegations that Majeed acceptedmoney from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl''no balls'' on 26 and 27 August 2010, during Pakistan''s fourthTest at Lord''s Cricket Ground in London," Clements saidyesterday.
"Majeed has been summoned to appear for a first hearingat City of Westminster Magistrates'' Court on March 17.
"Summonses for the same court date have been issued forthe three players and they have been asked to return to thiscountry voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September lastyear. Their extradition will be sought should they fail toreturn.
"The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closelywith the Metropolitan Police Service since the allegations ofmatch-fixing became public on August 29 2010.
"We received a full file of evidence on December 7, 2010and we are satisifed there is sufficient evidence for arealistic prospect of conviction and it is in the publicinterest to prosecute.
"I would remind everyone that these men are entitled to afair trial and should be regarded as innocent of these chargesunless it is proven otherwise in court. The InternationalCricket Council tribunal is due to announce its decision, butcriminal proceedings are active now.
"It is extremely important that nothing should bereported which could prejudice the trial."
The three players have been provisionally suspended bythe ICC after English tabloid, ''News of the World'', claimedthat Asif and Aamer bowled deliberate no-balls on the adviceof then skipper Butt.