BCCI’s Anti-Corruption chief Ajit Singh has said that the board will conduct its own inquiry into the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) match-fixing scandal and then will take a call on the magnitude of punishment.
The statement came in the wake of two Bellary Tuskers cricketers, CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi, getting arrested by the Central Crime Branch Bangalore for their alleged involvement in the KPL fixing saga.
"There are two points here. When the Bangalore police files its chargesheet, its investigation will be complete. We'll take a copy of that chargesheet. Secondly, there are some people against whom we have also launched our inquiry. We're taking their statements and giving them the opportunity to defend themselves. After that, we'll propose the necessary action to the Board," Singh told TOI.
He refrained from commenting if there were more players involved in the fixing, instead referring to them as ‘participants’, added, “We're in touch with the police. If we've something, we pass it on to them because they've the legal authority to take care of a much wider spectrum. We can only take action against the 'participants,' but they can do that against the others, like the bookies, too. We can't act against the bookies.
“From this year, it's the BCCI who will take care of their (state leagues’) anti-corruption needs. We're happy that we've got leads and are conducting inquiries. We're pleased that the Bangalore police is also being proactive on this front. The police has far more powers than us. They can arrest people who are out of our ambit. I feel that after the action that has been taken, the impact will be far-reaching. Maybe, the next edition of KPL will be cleaner than what it was.”
According to CCB, Gautam and Kazi are accused of spot-fixing in the KPL final which was held in Mysore on August 31, 2019 between Tuskers and Hubli Tigers.
Both of them were allegedly paid Rs 20 lakh for batting slow in the summit clash, and also fixed another match which they played against Bengaluru Blasters.
Commenting on the shocking turn of events, BCCI’s former anti-corruption chief, Neeraj Kumar told TOI: “I had warned the Board many times on this count. The owners of teams can be dubious, and can strike a deal with the players to do 'certain things' for them in lieu of a favour. The BCCI needs to screen the owners of these teams thoroughly. You can't relax the norms to become a team owner.”
Earlier this year, two other Indian local T20 competitions – Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and Mumbai T20 League – have come under the scanner for corruption claims.
Therefore, BCCI’s cricket development manager Ratnakar Shetty raised questions over the viability of such leagues.
"After this KPL incident coming to light, the BCCI must seriously think about the future of these state association-conducted T20 leagues. The credentials of the team owners in these leagues have been exposed after this incident. The cricketers will fall victim to the wrong kind of people coming into the game,” he said.
(Inputs from TOI)