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'Danger to cricket' Kaneria banned for life by ECB

Last updated on: June 22, 2012 22:26 IST

Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was given a life ban by the England and Wales Cricket Board for his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case.

Apart from Kaneria, the ECB also imposed a five-year ban on Westfield, but he will be able to play in the final two years of his punishment.

"We regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities," read an ECB disciplinary committee statement.

"Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose.

Danish Kaneria"This means from today Danish Kaneria is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organisation or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB," the statement added.

The ECB disciplinary panel has found Kaneria guilty of corruption in relation to the spot-fixing case, while Westfield was also charged with one offence under the ECB's regulations to which he pleaded guilty.

Both players were charged last month in the wake of Westfield's imprisonment. Kaneria was implicated in spot-fixing during Westfield's trial at London's Central Criminal Court but denied the allegations.

The disciplinary panel, which consisted of Gerard Elias QC, David Gabbitass and Jamie Dalrymple, concluded, "Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match."

Westfield, a former Essex fast bowler, was jailed for four months in January after he admitted underperforming in a Pro40 match against Durham in September 2009. Kaneria, Essex's overseas player for several seasons, was named by the judge at the Old Bailey as the orchestrator of the plot but he was never charged by the police, on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

It was confirmed that Kaneria had been warned for his links with bookmaker Anu Bhatt by the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) back in 2008 from which Alan Peacock, the senior investigator, provided evidence.

The panel was highly critical of Kaniera's evidence.

"We consider that in many respects the evidence of Danish Kaneria simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is plainly lies.

The hearing threw further light on Kaneria's relationship with Bhatt whose role was not specifically referred to in the criminal trial. The tribunal ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Bhatt was the "Asian businessmen" involved in setting up the deal with Kaneria and Westfield.

"There is no doubt - and no suggestion to the contrary - that one of the Asian men referred to by Westfield was Anu Bhatt. Indeed, Danish Kaneria admits introducing Westfield to Bhatt in Dukes nightclub and confirms in his evidence that Bhatt was in Durham and attended the match with tickets obtained by Kaneria for him."

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