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17 October 2017 Last updated 4 minutes ago

FIA to grill spot-fixing suspects

Mohammad Irfan Mohammad Irfan

As the Federal Investigation Agency begins “interrogating” the cricketers accused of spot-fixing from Monday (today), it is likely to book the suspects under its anti-corruption laws.

The FIA’s cyber crime wing in Lahore headed by Deputy Director Shahid Hasan will interrogate Mohammad Irfan on Monday. The other three - Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Shahzaib Hassan - will appear on Tuesday before the FIA.

“The FIA had also summoned Nasir Jamshad for Monday (today) but it learnt that he could not come to Pakistan as his passport was with the British authorities and he might be arrested there any time soon ,” a source in the agency told Dawn on Sunday.

Hasan said the FIA had also approached the Interior Ministry with a request to place the names of Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Shahzaib Hassan on the exit control list, barring them from leaving the country.

“The FIA will not only get forensic examination of cellphones of the suspected cricketers but also thoroughly interrogate them to find out the truth,” he said, adding PCB’s Col Muhammad Azam would hand over the cell phones of the suspects. “The FIA’s latest forensic equipment will help trace the WhatsApp conversation of the suspects with the bookies,” he said.

Replying to a question about agency’s domain in this case, the source said the agency would book the suspects under the Anti-Corruption Act.

If an official of the interior ministry is to be believed, more cricketers may be in the dock once the FIA investigation is finalised. “It has been transpired that it is not the matter of spot fixing in the Pakistan Super League 2017 matches alone but also some other matches and more players can be involved,” the official said.

According to the official, some of the suspected players had allegedly communicated with the bookies in Dubai through recorded WhatsApp voice messages.

Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that spot-fixing case was not a matter of few players but a matter of country’s dignity. “Few people (suspected cricketers) cannot be allowed to tarnish the image of the country. This is a corruption case and FIA will reach all persons involved in this case,” the minister said.

All five cricketers have been suspended from playing any form of cricket. The Islamabad United duo Sharjeel Khan and Khalild Latif were sent home from Dubai by the PCB last month after they confessed to having links with an international syndicate trying to corrupt the PSL. Irfan and Hassan were, however, allowed to play the PSL.