Fixing cloud in KPL; team owner quizzed

Fixing cloud in KPL; team owner quizzed

Ali Asfak Thara

A team owner in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) was questioned by the Central Crime Branch sleuths for suspected match fixing and betting in the league run by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). This comes close on the heels of allegations of match-fixing attempts in the Tamil Nadu Premier League.

Ali Asfak Thara, owner of the Belagavi Panthers, was taken for questioning on Friday on a tip-off about betting.

Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Sandeep Patil said that on information that there was betting in KPL by one team owner, the CCB on Friday questioned Ali. He was reportedly in touch with players of other teams and is alleged to have been involved in betting.

“The inquiry is still in the initial stages and a detailed investigation needs to be done. We will seek assistance of the KSCA as well as the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.”

Ali is the owner of Ali Tours and Travels in Jayanagar. He came on board the KPL two years ago after Panthers’ previous owners Sangeetha Mobiles pulled out of the league.

The team was led by India international Manish Pandey this year. They finished at second place in the league stage but lost both their play-off matches — against Bellary Tuskers in Qualifier 1 and against eventual champions Hubli Tigers in Qualifier 2 — to crash out of the tournament.  

A senior police officer said they suspected Ali had a good relationship with players in other teams and also has connections with bookies in Mumbai.

“We were monitoring one of the bookies and based on that we collected information about Ali and are investigating his connection with the bookie," said the officer.

KSCA, meanwhile, said they had no information regarding the questioning of one of the KPL team owners. 

“We’ve heard what you have heard. Unless the police tell us, we wouldn’t know anything,” said KSCA assistant secretary Santosh Menon who said there are no rumours about malpractices in the KPL.  

“We are very clear, we had a fantastic education programme (regarding match-fixing). We have done the anti-corruption programme and have educated all the team owners and the players.

KSCA will never compromise on that. We have had anti-corruption officers as usual. We are pretty sure nothing has happened, unless of course the investigation (reveals something). The police have to investigate. There has been no communication from Board of Control for Cricket in India on this to us either,” he remarked.

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