The Central Crime Branch (CCB) unit of the Bengaluru police has identified a second bookie from New Delhi allegedly involved in luring players to indulge in game manipulation in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).
The second bookie, Jatin Sethi, who was identified in the CCB investigation into illegal betting and match-fixing in the KPL approached a court in Bengaluru for anticipatory bail this week.
The CCB believe he is the missing link and have launched a search for him. Sethi and another Delhi-based bookie Sanyam Gulati, who’s at large, allegedly asked cricketers to underperform in the KPL this August. The identities of Sethi and Gulati emerged in the CCB probe following the arrest of Ali Asfak Thara, 40, owner of the KPL team Belagavi Panthers, and a celebrity drummer Bhavesh Bafna, 26 who has been part of tournaments like the KPL, Tamil Nadu Premier League and the Indian Premier League.
The Belagavi Panthers team owner Ali Asfak Thara was arrested last month for placing bets on KPL matches with a bookie allegedly based in Dubai. Thara is alleged to have influenced many players in the KPL with regard to the illegal betting racket.
The CCB police arrested the celebrity drummer Bafna last month on the basis of a complaint given by Bhavesh Gulecha, 26, a fast bowler for the Bellary Tuskers team in the 2019 KPL season. Gulecha has given a statement to the police saying he was approached by his childhood friend Bafna to give away more that 10 runs in an over in a match.
According to the version provided by Gulecha to the police he was offered a spot in an IPL team and Rs 2 lakh as advance if he agreed to meet bookie Sanyam Gulati and agree to spot-fixing in KPL games.
The celebrity drummer who was arrested on October 2 has also sought bail in the betting case. In the course of bail hearings Bafna’s lawyers refuted allegations that the drummer used to send signals to cricketers who had allegedly agreed to indulge in corruption by playing the drums in a certain pattern.
According to police sources Bafna has claimed during questioning that the bookies approached him first during TNPL matches by claiming to be big fans of his drumming skills. “Based in Bengaluru, he (Bafna) used to work on behalf of bookies in Delhi and Mumbai,” a senior crime branch police official said.
The investigations into betting and match fixing in the KPL were opened up by the CCB police on the basis of inputs provided by the anti-corruption unit of the BCCI on the heels of allegations of illegal betting and match fixing in the TNPL.