Jan 12, 2009

Sport - Cricket;Asif saddled with Rs 6.3 million bill in Dubai drug case

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.

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