Lahore: Pakistani Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria during his hearing by the England and Wales cricket board (ECB) claimed that he had been unable to break off his ties with Indian bookmaker Arun Bhatia as the latter had threatened him several times.
Well-informed sources aware of the proceedings during the hearing, which later banned Kaneria for life from English cricket and fined him 100,000 pounds for his involvement in spot-fixing, said Kaneria had also admitted that he had introduced the Indian to his Essex team-mate, Mervyn Westfield.
"During the hearing this month when Kaneria was asked why he had kept his contacts with Arun despite being warned by the ICC anti-corruption unit officers to stay clear of him, he claimed he was being threatened by the Indian," one source said.
"Danish said in 2008 after the ICC anti-corruption officers questioned him in Lahore and told him that Arun was a bookmaker and he [Kaneria] should stay clear of him, he had tried to do this but the Indian started threatening him," the source said.
But he said the ECB panel were not convinced with Kaneria's story and asked him if he was under threat from Arun, why he had not informed the Pakistan Cricket Board and other authorities.
"The panel also asked Danish if he was under threat from Arun, why did he accompany him to night clubs and restaurants and also introduced him to Westfield and other Essex players," the source claimed.
Kaneria has said he would appeal the life ban from the ECB panel as there was no evidence against him that he had done spot-fixing or convinced Westfield or other players to do spot-fixing after taking money from Arun.
"Kaneria's plea is that while he did know Arun, he never conspired with him to fix matches and that he had not got fair justice from the ECB panel," the source said.
He said the PCB officials were briefed in detail about the hearing and its repercussions by the ECB officials during the recent ICC meetings in Kuala Lumpur.
PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf, said after returning home on Friday that the PCB had given a chance to Danish to come and meet them and come clean, but he avoided meeting them and decided to fight the corruption case himself.
Ashraf also slammed claims by former captain Salman Butt that he was innocent of spot-fixing charges and said he was banned by ICC and jailed in a UK court.
"Now if he wants to appeal the ban or wants a fresh trial in Pakistan, that is his business; the board has nothing to do with it," Ashraf said.