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Danish Kaneria insists he is innocent

Trashing spot-fixing allegations, Pakistan leg-spinner says all charges against him are false

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria on Saturday pleaded innocence in the spot-fixing case which ended in his Essex county teammate Mervyn Westfield being jailed for four months. The two players were arrested by Essex police in May 2010 on suspicion of spot-fixing during a county match against Durham in 2009.


Danish Kaneria. Pic/Getty Images

Kaneria was released and not charged but Westfield pleaded guilty to spot-fixing charges in January this year, and was sentenced by a London court on Friday, when the Pakistani was named as the middleman in the plot.

"I am completely innocent from day one. All allegations against me are false," Kaneria, 31, told reporters after the first day's play in the domestic Pentangular Cup final in Lahore, where he captained the Sindh provincial team.

At the Old Bailey Westfield admitted receiving �6,000 ($9,200) to bowl so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of the contest, although in the event only 10 were conceded.

Prosecutors said the player had been lured into the fix after an approach by Kaneria. Kaneria claimed he was cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

"The Essex police cleared me and I have clearance certificates from both the ECB and ICC, so I am not feeling any pressure. I am just enjoying my cricket.

"Westfield is a convicted fraudster and admitted liar. In trying to reduce his own guilt he has tarnished my name."

Kaneria's brother Vinay also released a statement on his brother's behalf, saying Kaneria was released and had not been charged, and had fully co-operated with the investigation.

"In explaining the circumstances of Westfield's case to the court, the Crown Prosecution Service reiterated to the court that after intensive investigations the British police concluded that there was no evidence on which to charge Kaneria," the statement said.

It "vehemently denied" that Kaneria was involved in Westfield's actions. "It was quite clear that Westfield would say anything to avoid a custodial sentence. In court he attempted to portray himself as a na ve and vulnerable person who was easily lead astray," the statement added.

PCB seeks proof; will co-operate with ECB
LAHORE: Pakistan cricket bosses will ask British authorities for the full judgment and evidence in a spot-fixing case that implicated leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, officials said on Saturday.

Kaneria's Essex teammate in England, Mervyn Westfield, was sentenced to four months in prison on Friday after he pleaded guilty to taking money to bowl badly in a 2009 match between Essex and Durham.

At the Old Bailey Westfield admitted receiving �6,000 ($9,200) to bowl so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of the contest, although in the event only 10 were conceded.

Prosecutors said the player had been lured into the fix after an approach by Kaneria, who was arrested in connection with the case in 2010,  but later released without charge.  On Saturday the leg-spinner was captaining Sindh province against Punjab in the Pakistani domestic Pentangular Cup final in Lahore.

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