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June 12, 2012
The ICC's anti-corruption and security unit met with actress Nupur Mehta in connection with a Sunday Times report in March that said that the illegal booking mafia had hired an unidentified Indian actress to "honey trap" cricketers into match-fixing and spot-fixing. Mehta, whose unidentified photograph was used in the story, met with the ACSU's Alan Peacock at a Mumbai hotel and later told the Times of India that she had been "given a clean chit".
The ICC would not comment on the meeting because it had a "no comment policy on the ACSU, which works independently".
The Sunday Times report was written by Mazher Mahmood, the undercover reporter behind the News of the World sting operation into spot-fixing. The report did not mention Mehta's name but carried a pixellated photograph of an actress. The report said: "The ICC is aware of the activities of a Bollywood actress, suspected of attempting to subvert players." A few hours after the Sunday Times story became public, Mehta stepped forward and identified the photograph as hers. She said while she had met a few cricketers, she did not have any links with bookies. Her lawyer said she would be suing the Sunday Times for Rs 10 crore ($1.78 million) for using her photograph without her permission.
The Times of India quoted Mehta as saying, "They [the ACSU] are satisfied with the answers I have provided. I have many friends who are cricketers and with whom I socialise... I also know a lot of international cricketers."
It is learnt that the meeting - the exact date is not known but it is believed to have taken place over the weekend - between Mehta and Peacock was part of the ACSU's routine practices of information-gathering whenever any individual's name crops up. It was not to be confused with either an interrogation or an exercise in ensuring that Mehta cleared her name. Mehta was talked to by the ACSU because her name came up in the Sunday Times story.
What the ACSU is unlikely to have accounted for, however, was her publicising her conversation with the ACSU. On Monday night, a television channel also carried blurred spycam images of the conversation between Mehta and Peacock.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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