The Central Crime Branch, on Monday, arrested Belagavi Panthers owner Ali Asfak Thara in Bengaluru for allegedly betting during the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) tournament. In the last few days, the KPL as well as its Tamil Nadu counterpart, the TNPL, have been rocked by spot-fixing allegations. Consequently, both the leagues have landed in troubled waters.
Talking about the latest arrest related to the case, the CCB arrested Thara after finding out that he was involved in betting activities with a Dubai-based bookie. Thara had joined the franchise ahead of the 2017 season. Police officials also confirmed that Thara was in contact with players of other teams too. The authorities are now questioning the players too as a part of the investigation.
“We arrested Belagavi Panthers team owner Ali Asfak Thara for placing bets on matches. The accused placed bets with the help of a Dubai-based bookie. Regarding match-fixing, it is still under inquiry. Investigation revealed that Thara was in touch with players of other teams during KPL matches. The players are being questioned,” Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police, CCB was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
The Panthers are in the KPL since its inception in 2009. Last year, India star Manish Pandey plied his trade for them. The Panthers won the league once in 2017, the year in which Thara was associated with the team. Earlier this year in KPL 2019, they finished second on the points table before losing to Hubli Tigers in the Qualifier 2 match.
Tamil Nadu Premier League in trouble too
The highly successful TNPL has also found itself in the middle of the spot-fixing storm. Both Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and the BCCI’s Anti Corruption Unit are conducting inquiries after the allegations became public. The eight-team competition features top India players like Ravi Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar.
Recently, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar opened up on the reports of fixing, saying that greed is something that comes naturally to human beings. He, in fact, said that the spot-fixing menace from the game cannot be totally controlled. He said that players get swayed away due to their greed or for any other reason.
“Greed is a thing which no amount of education, guidance, seminars with anti-corruption guys is going to help. Greed is something that is human,” Gavaskar said.
“The best of societies, the most developed of societies still have criminals. In cricket also you will always have the odd person who will be swayed by greed. (It) could be some other reason that might force him to do something. That’s something I don’t think you can totally control,” he added.
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