The Karnataka Premier League fixing probe is leading the investigators towards the Indian Premier League match, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has revealed.
While revealing that the KPL match-fixing probe is heading towards cricket’s richest competition Indian Premier League, Rao speaking to the New Indian Express was also surprised that the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s anti-corruption unit has been silent on the matter. He also alleged that the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, the State body that runs the KPL, did not come forward to offer co-operation in the investigation.
“The probe in KPL match-fixing is heading towards IPL matches. IPL cannot be insulated from KPL activities. We are surprised at the silence of the anti-corruption unit in the BCCI, despite the new BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, saying the KPL will be kept under suspension till the investigation is complete,” Rao has told the New Indian Express while adding “cricket is no more gentlemen’s game”.
The Bengaluru City Police Crime Branch has so far arrested nine people, including several players, a team owner, and a KSCA administrator, in connection with the match-fixing investigations in the KPL even as the International Cricket Council has reached out to the Bengaluru Police and offered co-operation in the probe.
“Cricket has been hijacked by gamblers, bettors and fixers. We have arrested nine people, including the owner of ‘Belagavi Panthers’ Ali Asfak Thara and team coach Sudheendra Shinde. The investigation has revealed the complicity of many more people, including players, officials, team and event managers. They are on our radar,” said Rao.
“Some gamblers and bettors hire good cricketers and order them to underperform after they are honey trapped and lured with expensive gifts and tours to exotic locales. The result is that every ball in KPL matches seems to have been betted upon. The players are paid and promised good career opportunities for underperforming in the matches. The saddest part is that lakhs of people, who spend money, color their faces and go to cheer the teams at the stadium, don’t realize that the match is already fixed. Hundreds of police personnel are being deployed for security for cricket matches, which are decided much before they are played. The audience is being taken for a ride and cricketers relegated to the background.
The fixers have heightened the glamour or oomph quotient. It is no longer a gentleman’s game,” adds Rao while accepting that there has been pressure to slow down the investigation.
The Bengaluru Police chief had also not ruled out the possibility of roping in the Central enforcement agencies for a broader investigation into the matter.