PCB refutes allegations saying it was a clear case of suicide
Arundhati Roy says gambling integral part of India
Berlin/Karachi/New Delhi: The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit today revealed that a couple of Pakistan cricket players are under investigation for possible involvement in the death of ‘Paul The Octopus’.
The oracular Octopus shot into limelight during the last soccer World Cup because the actual football games were so boring that people were forced to test the soothsaying abilities of a marine creature that technically would not know the difference between, say, football and Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Paul was yesterday found dead under mysterious circumstances, with the door of its room bolted from outside.
‘It is impossible to believe that the octopus that had foretold so many things did not predict its own death,’ a police official who was among the first to arrive on the scene said. ‘Prima facie, there is room to suspect some foul play. We have lifted some fingerprints from the water,’ an Interpol officer said. ‘Conversely, anybody whose hand is wet is technically a suspect,’ the officer added.
The Interpol’s investigating angle is that since the betting syndicates had lost heavily because of Paul’s predictions, they were the ones who had the most to gain from its death.
The moment the words ‘betting syndicates’ were bandied about, a couple of sleuths from the ICC’s anti-corruption unit just boarded the next available flight to Pakistan. ‘We didn’t even wait for our superiors’ orders. We didn’t even bother to check notes with the Interpol. We know from experience that a sport betting scandal will somehow involve Pakistan. So why wait and go through the formalities?,’ one of the ICC investigators said.
‘Just because Paul was primarily used to predict results of football matches, it doesn’t mean we have to exonerate Pakistan cricketers,’ he said and added: ‘Pakistan cricketers are proved to be guilty unless presumed innocent’ is the general international legal practice.
‘Mazhar Majeed had not even played book cricket in his life. But he managed to fix many international cricket matches. So why could not have some Pakistan cricketers tried to fix some football matches?’ the ICC inspector explained the logic of their probe.
It is learnt that the ICC Corruption unit is to question five Pakistan cricketers in connection with Paul’s death. The ICC investigator, however, refused to clarify whether the cricketers were from the current squad or former players. ‘We can’t answer the question simply because there can be no real former cricketer in Pakistan. You never know when the call to play for the national team will arrive.’ Misbah-ul-Haq had all but started to collect his pension when he was announced to be the captain of the national team. ‘Our investigation ambit is limited to questioning the cricketers on Paul’s death. We don’t have the resources to investigate whether they are present-day cricketers or ex-cricketers for ever’, the ICC sleuth said.
In an immediate reaction to the developments, the Pakistan Cricket Board suspended Salman Butt and Wasim Bari from further taking part in international cricket, even while refuting the suggestions that Pakistan cricketers might be involved in Paul’s death. ‘They said the same things when Bob Woolmer died. I think they eventually came to the conclusion that Woolmer might have chosen his death with the help of some known persons. One of these days, they will realise that Paul too committed suicide,’ a PCB spokesperson said.
Asked why Salman Butt, who is already suspended needs to suspended, the PCB spokesperson said ‘we are a responsible sporting body. We are only conveying our sincerity by suspending an already banned player’.
On the suspension of Wasim Bari, who retired several decades ago, the PCB said Wasim Bari saab is one of our legends. ‘We don’t want anybody else to besmirch his reputation. There may be people out there who may be wondering whether Bari saab is one of the players under the ICC scanner. So it is to keep the doubting Thomases at bay, we are proactively suspending Bari saab. And once his name is cleared, the suspension will be lifted.’
The PCB also clarified that the suspension of the two players does not mean they are ineligible for national selection. ‘Especially Bari saab. How can we overlook his proven talent,’ the PCB said.
Meanwhile, noted writer-activist Arundhati Roy, in an impassioned speech, said New Delhi had a lot to answer on the betting crimes all over the world as gambling, unlike Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh, was integral part of India. ‘Gambling has been well-known here since the days of Mahabharatha. India cannot disown its responsibility’ she said and added providing complete independence to gambling from India can be the real solution to the whole problem.
The Booker prize winner also has come up with an essay titled, ‘You bet, it’s a police state’. The essay runs into 35,00897,0987 pages more than all the versions of Mahabharatha put together.
‘This seems to be a crime of editions than sedition,’ said a source in the Law Ministry.
(Disclaimer: We hate to spoof a spoof. But we’re desperate and out of ideas)
(Disclaimer 2: When we said spoof of spoofs we were referring to Arundhati Roy and not Pakistan cricket).