New Delhi:The News Of The World website has come out with some sensational revelations on how a bookie Mazhar Majeed acceped 150000 pounds to arrange a fix involving Pakistan's new ball bowlers Mohammad Amer and Mohammad Asif.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, Bill Akass, Managing Editor of the tabloid, told what made him carry out the sting operation. Here are the excerpts of the interview...
NDTV: What made you carry out this sting operation considering you too can be implicated?
Akass: We received information two weeks ago suggesting that an individual was involved in match fixing, and we sat down to investigate. I have to make it absolutely clear here that we didn't set up anything, we investigated ongoing match fixing during Test matches and this individual (Mazhar Majeed) was involved. We infiltrated his network and gained his trust to get the information, so this wasn't a payment to set this up but a payment to get the information about a fix he already put in place.
NDTV: We have seen the video but if you can just tell us about players' willingness towards match fixing...
Akass: All I can tell you is that we have direct evidence of it. I can't speculate about what they thought or why they did it, what I can tell you is that during the course of our investigation we have spoken to Mr Majeed the fixer, he introduced us to these players. He is clearly on friendly terms with them and claims to be their manager. He rang them up in our presence and spoke to them in quite a friendly way. When asked what his motivation was for doing this, he himself said that the younger players don't get paid very much, that they didn't get what they deserved and that might be the motivation but I can't speculate on the motivation of the individual players.
NDTV: 150,000 pounds riding on just three balls, isn't a bit much?
Akass: Well let me explain, it is not much. The 15000 pounds wasn't for the three balls, it was a sort of entry fee for a special part of his cricket information. So we didn't pay for the balls nor did he place a bet on our behalf. But that wasn't the point, the point was that he could prove to us that he could do what he wanted to do. We wanted to show him that we were aware of things, we were serious and were capable of indulging in that kind of money to engage in this activity with him.
NDTV: Is there more to come on the Pakistani players?
Akass: It may very well be the tip of the iceberg. There are 3 distinct cases of evidence here, first the undeniable, uncontroversial evidence which shows pre-determined activity of match fixing. The other is that he was talking about it on video on tape and they played out exactly to the ball to the over which he predicted they would, so chance of him being questionable are impossible, so we were sure we had proof of what went on. The other intensive evidence was that of other matches that he had rigged, during our course of investigation he had made specific mention of other matches that were rigged and millions of dollars that changed hands. We of course don't have direct evidence of what happened we just have his word for them. From what he told us you know that this guy is serious. He knows what he is doing and if he can influence players in such a way he is surely capable of far more.
NDTV: Can one implicate players without video footage or audio recording?
Akass: You have to remember that we have handed over our evidence to the police and they will carry out the direct investigation now. Police will directly be looking at evidence from Pakistani players and what evidence they have collected etc. I don't know how that will come about, it's just the beginning of the investigation.
NDTV: Can you tell us anything more about other transactions?
Akass: He spoke of recent Tests in Australia and that they had been thrown and $1.3 mn had been made as a profit from them. He also spoke about forthcoming one-dayers and Tests they were planning to lose, so we have specific undeniable evidence of fixing which is worrying.