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Osman Samiuddin and Nagraj Gollapudi
Four officials from a CPL franchise were pulled up by anti-corruption officers during the 2019 season. One of them, thought to be either part of or close to the ownership structure, was the main focus of a report made to anti-corruption officials by a player from the franchise. The man was detained at Trinidad airport, not allowed to travel with the team during the early part of the season and ultimately was asked to leave the tournament.
The individual in question did not make a direct approach to the player who eventually reported him. Instead, ESPNcricinfo understands, the nature of the interactions between them had made the player wary. Sources say that the player believed he was being groomed as someone who could eventually be approached to carry out corrupt activities, which is what led him to reporting him to the anti-corruption authorities,
It is unclear how influential or senior the individual in question is, or whether he has a stake in the ownership of the franchise, but he did present himself to the player as part of the ownership group.
There are believed to have been several interactions, in the casino of the hotel where the team was staying, that prompted the player to go to the anti-corruption officer. There are said to be a few one-on-one meetings the player was asked to attend with this individual, by which stage the player was so uncomfortable and suspicious he had taken to recording the meetings surreptitiously on his phone.
No direct offer was made, though in one of the one-on-one meetings, talk had begun to turn to performances in an upcoming game.
"Any such incident which is reported to the CPL [officials] is taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly," a CPL spokesperson said. "Our policy is that we do not comment on anti-corruption related matters or incidents. We are firmly committed to making sure the tournament's integrity is protected. We are very confident that our anti-corruption team, in conjunction with the ICC colleagues, make sure this remains the case."
Incidentally, the ICC ACU, which had been providing anti-corruption cover every year from the first season of the CPL, was not appointed this time around.
The CPL initially said there was just one officer for the both the legs of the tournament this season. However immediately after this article was published the spokesperson rectified that number to five. "There was two staff per leg and someone overseeing the efforts so there were 5 in total," a CPL spokesperson said.
"There was an anti-corruption officer for both legs of the tournament with players given a briefing at the start of the event to reconfirm the process needed if an approach is made," a CPL spokesperson said.
It is believed the ICC has asked for a detailed report from the CPL officials. The ICC has been concerned about ownership structures at a number of domestic T20 leagues in various countries. Usually the organisers vet the owners through their respective anti-corruption units, or the ICC ACU, from an integrity point of view.
*4.30 pm GMT: The article was updated to record the CPL spokesperson's clarification about there being five ACU staff.