In another twist to the spot-fixing fiasco in Karnataka Premier League, the Crime Branch Unit of Bangalore Police arrested Karnataka State Cricket Association committee member Sudhendra Shinde on Wednesday. This was after the police had unearthed the evidence to indict Shinde, manager of the Belgavi Panthers, along with owner Asfak Ali Thara. The duo is accused of building a “network for match-fixing” comprising players, bookies and team management across teams in the KPL.
Shinde, who also coaches the state’s U-19 coach, was remanded to police custody for three days. “The KSCA management committee member Sudhendra Shinde has been arrested in a KPL match-fixing case. He, along with Ali (Asfak Ali Thara) fixed a few matches,” the head of the city crime branch unit and joint commissioner of police, Sandeep Patil confirmed.
Shinde is the latest among a raft of names — besides Thara, owner of the Bellary Tuskers Arvind Reddy, the Tuskers captain and former Karnataka captain CM Gautam and Tuskers player Abrar Kazi were indicted — who have been booked for fixing the most recent edition’s final, which the Tuskers lost, and three other games in the 2018 and 2019 installments.
“Shinde was a link between the Panthers owner Ali and the KSCA in the KPL fixing,” a police source said.
The police are exploring the involvement of more KSCA officials in the scam.
Shinde, who runs the local cricket club Socials Cricketers in the city, came into touch with Ali Asfak Thara in 2017 when the latter joined and began funding the club. In one instance of alleged spot fixing, Thara offered Tuskers captain Gautam Rs 7.5 lakh to get a bowler to concede more than 10 runs in an over against Bengaluru Blasters at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium ion August 22.
Gautam allegedly set up a deal with the off-spinner Kazi during a practice session ahead of the game and gave him an advance of Rs 2.5 lakh. As per the deal, Kazi gave away 11 runs including two wides in his first over (seventh game). The police say he got Rs 5 lakh for it. Thereafter, in this year’s final against Hubli Tigers, Thara allegedly asked Gautam to bat slowly, which he did (20 off 37 balls), and Tuskers lost the game by eight runs. According to the police Gautam received Rs 15 lakh from Thara.
In two other games—against Mysuru Warriors and Shimoga Lions–Reddy had asked Gautam to underperform, the police alleged. Against Mysuru Warriors, the Tuskers lost by three wickets despite putting on board 240 runs. The Shimoga game went to the SuperOver, which Tuskers won by 12 runs.
Letter to KSCA
Following the emergence of pieces of evidence of large-scale fixing in the KPL, the crime branch police have written to the KSCA to furnish details of franchises, owners and the anti-corruption cover provided by KSCA and BCCI.
“We have sought a wide range of information about the level of monitoring the matches, whether corruption was reported and if so, the action taken. We have also sought information on all Indian Premier League matches played in Bengaluru. We are restricted to investigating matches and fixing suspected to have occurred in Karnataka,” sources said.
Furthermore, a notice has been issued to all KSCA and KPL team management, Patil informed. As things stand, a total of 15 persons including three players, a coach, manager, two owners and several bookies from around India have been accused in the KPL fixing scam.