KPL betting scam: Crime Branch arrests two more domestic players

Karnataka Premier League, domestic cricket, betting scam
Among the arrested is Bellary Tuskers captain CM Gautam, a former Karnataka wicketkeeper-batsman. Photo: PTI

The Central Crime Branch police wing on Thursday (November 7) arrested two more domestic cricketers in connection with the Karnataka Premier League fixing scandal, taking the total number of arrests to six.

The arrest of Bellary Tuskers captain CM Gautam, a former Karnataka wicketkeeper-batsman and his teammate Abrar Qazi comes two days after crime branch sleuths arrested cricketer Nishanth Singh Shekhawat of Bengaluru Blasters.

“We have arrested two players with regard to KPL fixing,” Additional Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil told PTI on Thursday, adding some more arrests may be made as the investigation progressed.

Police said the two were involved in fixing in the KPL 2019 finals between Hubballi versus Ballari. “They were paid ₹20 lakh for slow batting, and for other things. Also, they fixed another match against Bengaluru team,” an investigation officer said.

The police made inroads into the ongoing investigation after they arrested Belagavi Panthers’ team owner Asfaq Ali Thara for his alleged involvement in the betting scam KPL tournament run by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA).

The police in October arrested Bengaluru Blasters bowling coach Vinu Prasad and Batsman M Vishwanath in connection with the scam.

The coach allegedly manipulated a game between Belagavi Panthers and Bengaluru Blasters last year.

According to the police, it was Shekhawat who introduced Vishwanath and Prasad to the bookies. On a tip off from the arrest the latter, the Police arrested Shekhawat on Tuesday (November 5).

During the match in question, batsman Vishwanath had allegedly signalled for a change of bat and rolled up his sleeves in order to give signals to the concerned persons.

“Investigations are on and we have summoned a few more players for questioning. The CCB has issued a lookout notice against two bookies who are currently on the run,” a police officer investigating the case in CCB said.

The CCB police claim to have unearthed an international cricket betting scandal with these arrests. According to police, Thara had links with Dubai based bookies through who the coach had bet on matches.

The Police also arrested celebrity drummer Bhavesh Bafna for approaching a KPL player and luring him to concede more than 10 runs in an over.

The KSCA started the tournament a decade ago and much on the lines of Indian Premier League (IPL). City-based franchises play against each other for the ultimate prize. The KSCA runs the KPL T-20 tournament every year similar to IPL matches.

The KPL has seven teams representing prominent cities and towns across the state, including Bellary Tuskers, Bengaluru Blasters, Hubli Tigers, Bijapur Bulls, Mysuru Warriors and Shivamogga Lions.

The KSCA suspended Belagavi Panthers team from KPL after the CCB Police arrested Thara in relation to the case. The KSCA secretary in-charge Sudhakar Rao informed of the decision and said the team and its owner are banned from participating in activity of the KPL.

Belagavi panthers is of the KPL since the beginning of the tournament in 2009. The team was a runner-up in the 2009 and won their maiden title in 2017 and finished second in 2019.