Launching a defence of the spot-fixing allegations against him, Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf has said that taking gifts is not a crime but a part of culture. "Giving and taking gifts is a tradition. Taking gifts is not a crime, it is part of Asian culture," he said.
Rauf has been named as a 'wanted accused' in the IPL corruption case chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police. The umpire is alleged to have placed bets through bookies on certain IPL matches he officiated and in return received 'gifts', including jewellery and clothing.
"There wasn't any expensive jewelry in my bags, it contained 'chaadars' brought from different shrines," said Rauf, denying the allegations.
He also denied allegations that he left bags behind while 'escaping' from India. "I requested Vindoo Dara Singh (fellow accused) to send those bags to Delhi Airport."
Soon after Rauf's name cropped up in the IPL 2013 corruption scandal in May this year, the 57-year-old immediately left for Pakistan and was dropped by the ICC for the Champions Trophy in June. Rauf however has vehemently denied all accusations against him and has repeatedly claimed his innocence. He had earlier stated that he was dropped from the ICC's elite panel of umpires because his contract was over. Rauf also said he would explain his stand to ICC's Anti-corruption Unit.
"I have been an employee of ICC. The ICC has its own anti-corruption unit. Like police they also investigate. When they call me, I will answer them through my legal advisor. I have done five IPLs and my decisions have been 100 per cent correct. I will answer to ICC regarding these allegations," Rauf said.