'Will terminate franchises found guilty of fixing' - KSCA on KPL mess
The association has issued a public statement after the arrests of five players and a team owner
The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has suspended five players, a coach, and two franchise owners in relation to the KPL corruption saga that was unearthed earlier this year.
In a media release on Friday, KSCA said that CM Gautam, Abrar Kazi, M Viswanathan, Nishant Shekhawat, and coach Vinu Prasad were all prohibited from participating in KSCA activities. They have also been barred from using the association's facilities. A fifth player, Bhavesh Gulecha, who had reported bookie approaches to the police, was also suspended for not keeping KSCA officials informed of an illegal approach.
The communication comes a day after it was reported that KSCA secretary Santosh Menon's residence was raided in connection with the spot-fixing case. Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of the Central Crime Branch (CCB), told ESPNcricinfo that Menon had been called in for questioning.
Menon is not the first member from the KSCA administration to be called in for questioning by the CCB. Earlier in December, Sudhindra Shinde, a member of the association's managing committee, had been arrested for his alleged involvement in "match-fixing". At the time, Roger Binny, KSCA's newly elected president, called the KPL corruption scandal an "unfortunate turn of events".
Shinde has not been suspended, but the KSCA has directed him not to attend any meeting of the managing committee "nor participate in any cricket related activities organised by the KSCA".
The 2020 edition of the KPL had been put on hold until the completion of the investigation, after several links to corruption had emerged across the board when investigations opened. At the forefront of this investigation was Belagavi Panthers franchise owner Asfak Ali Thara, who had been arrested for allegedly betting on the tournament. He has been suspended, alongside "Mrs. Asfak Ali Thara", who is the co-owner.
"In case they are found guilty, their franchise will be terminated," the release said. "The decisions taken by the KSCA regarding on [sic] the above players and others will be reconsidered only after the investigation is complete. In case any of them are found guilty, appropriate and stringent action will be taken immediately."
Sourav Ganguly had said after his first annual general meeting (AGM) as BCCI president that the board had to "get the anti-corruption systems right" and would set up anti-corruption systems that would be assessed next year for effectiveness. The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) is another state league that has been under the scanner this year, and had suspended two franchises, according to Ganguly.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo