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The Andhra Pradesh High Court Monday directed the police here to return Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik’s passport, which was seized earlier this month in connection with a cheating case filed by his first wife Ayesha Siddiqui.

Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy, who had reserved his order Friday after hearing the arguments of Shoaib’s counsel, Monday pronounced his order directing the police to return his passport.

Shoaib, who married Indian tennis star Sania Mirza here last Monday, had last week filed the petition as his passportremained with the police despite Ayesha withdrawing hercomplaint after he divorced her.

Shoaib’s counsel had told the court that the issue between him and Ayesha was resolved amicably and she withdrew hercomplaint and hence there was no reason for the police to retain his passport.

The court order cleared the way for Shoaib to return to Pakistan along with his bride for a reception expected to be held in Lahore later this week.

The court order came a day after the Central Crime Station (CCS) of Hyderabad police closed the case againstShoaib Malik on a request by Ayesha.

Shoaib’s passport was seized by police April 5 after he was questioned in connection with the case filed by Ayesha. The Pakistani cricketer moved the High Court after police said it might take a week for him to get back his passport as he would have to complete some legal formalities.

A police official had said that Shoaib and Ayesha may have to appear before a lower court. The cricketer approached the high court through his counsel to avoid appearing before a lower court.

The former Pakistani skipper has been staying at Sania Mirza’s house ever since he landed here April 2.

Shoaib divorced Ayesha April 7, three days after she lodged a complaint with the police for denying the marriage, which took place over phone in 2002.


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