Bookies bowled maidens, players caught

Honey-traps and foreign escapades have rocked the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).

By resorting to honey-traps, dangling foreign tours and offering money that far exceeded the match fees, bookies seemed to have hijacked the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) by forcing vulnerable players to do their bidding.

Bengaluru city police commissioner Bhaskar Rao said bookies and fixers honey-trapped players and recorded their private moments. “Then they (bookies) started blackmailing cricketers to play according to their instructions,” he said.

Rao said players were sent on foreign trips like Dubai and the Caribbean. Five-star accommodation, money and girls were provided. Once their activities were filmed, blackmail started. Fearing the tapes would be leaked, the players followed the bookies’ directions.

“It is believed a few cheer girls were also used to honey-trap players,” he said.

Rao said the regulatory bodies, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) should have acted after such scandals came to light over the last few years.

“All this is within their domain. But they remained mute spectators. They could have taken action before the matter reached us. Many members in the KSCA and KPL team players and owners were aware of the betting racket but remained silent. They will be summoned for interrogation,” he said.

A notice has been issued to KSCA and all the seven KPL team managements to provide details of all the matches, players, all the crew, along with videos and score sheets of the league. “There was communication between owners of some teams with players of other teams and we have also sought these details,” Rao said.

The top cop said the investigation may extend to the Indian Premier League as the BCCI has contacted the Karnataka police to seek the findings from the probe and the role of all the accused in the case.

A special team under joint commissioner of police (SIT) Sandeep Patil is
exclusively looking into the scam. Investigations have revealed that players were getting more money from spot fixing than from match fees.

Rao added that a few KPL team owners had left the country but said the law will catch up with them. “We have issued a lookout circular against them.

Cricket has been hijacked by bookies and fixers and we want to free cricket from the clutches of these accused and clean up the ground. More arrests are likely,” he said.

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