Asif saddled with Rs 6.3 million bill

Asif narrowly escaped a two-year jail term in Dubai after last year's drug possession case but the pacer is still saddled with a bill of Rs 6.3 million.

updated: January 12, 2009 19:06 IST
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Mohammad Asif narrowly escaped a two-year jail term in Dubai after Pakistan Board pleaded with the ruling family there to spare him in last year's drug possession case but the pacer is still saddled with an astronomical bill of 6.3 million rupees.

Sources said after Asif was detained by the Dubai Airport police, authorities in Dubai assured the PCB that Asif would be released soon.

"But Asif to save himself from the stigma of being involved in a drug possession case during his detention leaked out a story to a media group that upon his arrival at Dubai he was drunk and had an altercation with Dubai Airport authorities which landed him into detention," the source said.

The source said when this story appeared in the media, it infuriated the Dubai authorities who decided to press ahead with criminal charges against the pacer which would have put him in prison for two years.

Asif, who was detained for possession of 0.24gm of opium while he was returning from India, was released only because some influential people got involved and the pacer was only deported and no criminal charges were pressed against him.

"It was only after (the then PCB Chairman Nasim) Ashraf spoke to Sheikh Al Nahyan that Asif be spared jail term under UAE laws for drugs possession that the pacer escaped punishment," the source disclosed.

While Asif was released from Dubai without facing any criminal charges, PCB finance department on recommendations of Zakir Khan, the director cricket operations, sent bills of around 6.3 million to the pacer for clearance.

"The bills were sent to Asif on the recommendations of Zakir who was consulted when the Board hired the services of a reputed law firm, Afridi and Angell in Dubai, to defend Asif in his case," a source said.

The source said after Asif returned home, he was asked to clear the bills spent on securing his release.

He has refused to pay the bills until now claiming his permission was not sought before engaging the services of lawyer Haider Afridi, who represented him in the case, and also pleading with the Board that he was under contract with them when the incident occurred.

"Asif was sent bills of UAE dirham 300,000 as legal fees of the law firm, USD 3500 as hotel bills of Nadeem Akram, the former Director of Human Resources of the board who was sent to Dubai to assist in the case and another bill of 96,000 rupees which was the telephone bill of Nadeem Akram while he was in Dubai," the source said.

The source said the inquiry committee formed by the board to look into the Asif detention case and which included Zakir and former officials Shafqat Naghmi and Nadeem Akram had deliberated on the report of Dubai prosecutors and, since opium is not a banned substance under WADA Code, decided to only fine the pacer.

"The committee had suggested a fine of seven million rupees and ban for a short period but Zakir pleaded that Asif was not even earning this much in a year and the fine should not be recommended," the source revealed.