Bulls’ drummer held for KPL match fixing

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) on Wednesday arrested a bookie for trying to fix matches in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL), even as the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) decided to suspend Belagavi Panthers.

Bhavesh Bafna was arrested for allegedly approaching a bowler of Bellary Tuskers to fix a match. Bafna was also working as a drummer for Bijapur Bulls franchise.

The CCB had earlier arrested Ali Asfak Thara, the owner of Panthers, after detailed interrogation. Besides Thara, they had also questioned over 50 people, including players, brand ambassadors and owners of other teams.

Days after Thara’s arrest, the KSCA finally suspended him and the franchise “to send a stern message to others”. 

“There was a managing committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday) where we decided to suspend the franchise and the owner,” said outgoing KSCA secretary Sudhakar Rao. “We are awaiting a report from the CCB. We will take further action against the franchise based on what we receive in writing from the CCB.

“For now, we have suspended the team and the owner. If we get more details or confirmation about their corrupt activities, we can even terminate the contract,” said Rao. 

Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner (Crime), said that an FIR was registered against two bookies — Bafna and Sanyam — for trying to fix matches. They reportedly approached a Bellary Tuskers’ bowler to give more than 10 runs per over but the bowler refused.

Sanyam, believed to be from Delhi, will be arrested soon.

Wednesday’s arrest comes in the wake of a complaint filed by Tuskers’ bowler Bhavesh Gulechha (26), a resident of Basavanagudi, before JP Nagar police.

He said Bafna was his childhood friend, as both hailed from Rajasthan. Gulechha played for Jawans Cricket Club, a KSCA-affiliated team.

Bafna invited Gulechha for coffee in July, soon after he joined as drummer for Bulls. He asked Gulechha to give 10 runs per over or even more, but Gulechha refused. Bafna approached the pacer many times over, but he rejected. Gulechha said Bafna approached him one more time, asking him to meet him at Taj Hotel at the Kempegowda International Airport to discuss his selection to the IPL. There, he introduced Gulechha to Sanyam and offered Rs 2 lakh for giving 10 runs per over. He promised more money and other facilities. But Gulechha rejected the deal and helped his team finish runner-up in the tournament. Gulechha said he was about to report the incidents to the KSCA but was confused. He is now seeking action against the duo.

The bookies have been booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy.

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