The threat of betting on India’s domestic T20 cricket leagues is becoming darker. So much so that the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) expressed grave concern and even asked the board to consider pulling the plug on these leagues.
In a confidential report submitted to the BCCI, the ACU highlighted that this year’s Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) match between Tuti Patriots and Madurai Panthers witnessed betting on the Betfair international site of around 24 million pounds (about Rs 225 crore).
The report states that Betfair was so shocked by the unusually high sum associated with an Indian state league that it stopped betting on any Tuti Patriots matches The ACU report draws its results from two research firms that track odds put across the globe for any team during any T20 season.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly announced last week the suspension of two TNPL franchises. Nevertheless, a Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) official later said there was no suspension of any franchise. Two Tuti Patriots co-owners were expelled on advice from the internal investigation committee of the TNCA, the official said.
Bookies and Match-Fixers Rule the Cricket World
Sources associated with the investigation had said that bookies and match-fixers were running “the team in such a way that they make windfall profits in betting” after taking control of a franchise through an illicit contract with the team owner.
Ganguly also said that during the latest edition of the first national T20 tournament, bookies aim at least one player in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The former captain of India also said the Premier League of Karnataka (KPL) was on hold.
Over the past year, bribery in various T20 leagues has kept the ACU busy. A case where a Mumbai player red-flagged a team owner strategy to engage in spot-fixing in the T20 Mumbai league is under investigation. In the past, Singh, the Anti-Corruption Unit president, said the authorities would implement a law to prevent match-fixing.
Ganguly said that if bribery persists through leagues, the ACU will have to be improved. “We are dealing with it, we are getting the anti-corruption system right. Also, we have to get the best anti-corruption people and make it stronger. We will assess it, next year if it (corruption) doesn’t stop. If it doesn’t work then we will think of something else,” Ganguly said.
Meanwhile, the Bengaluru crime branch has made several arrests in connection with alleged corruption and spot-fixing in the KPL. This is along with the highest-profile arrest being that of former Karnataka captain C M Gautam. As part of an ongoing investigation, Belagavi Panthers ‘ manager, Asfak Ali Thara, are in jail. Also, bookies, other players, and support staff members join them.