The Bengaluru Police on Wednesday arrested Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) management committee member Sudhindra Shinde in connection with the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) match-fixing case.
The Central Crime Branch (CCB), which is probing the case, conducted a search operation at Shinde’s home in Bengaluru’s Domlur at around 11 am on Tuesday. The search operation went on till 3 pm. "We took him in for questioning and he was arrested on Wednesday," the police said.
CCB Chief and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Sandeep Patil, said that 39-year-old Shinde was allegedly involved in recruiting players and fixing matches. “Sudhindra Shinde is the director of the Karnataka Under-19 team and also a former coach of the Belagavi Panthers cricket team. He is also a member of the KSCA’s managing committee in Raichur,” the police said.
The Karnataka Premier League (KPL) was hit by the multi-crore match-fixing scam in September. The tournament, which concluded on August 31, was mired in controversy in September when police officials arrested the owner of Belagavi Panthers franchise Asfaq Ali over charges of match-fixing. It was alleged that players accepted money to fix matches in the league, including the final, in which two players have been accused of “slow batting”. Further investigation revealed a wide web of match-fixing in the Twenty20 cricket league, where players were allegedly blackmailed through honey-trapping tactics by bookies.
Sandeep Patil said that Shinde was running a cricket club in Jayanagar when he met Ashfaq Ali, the prime accused in the match-fixing case in 2016. “Ashfaq Ali was a travel agent and in 2016, he offered to sponsor players who were a part of Shinde’s cricket club. Ashfaq Ali went on to form the Belagavi Panthers team in the KPL and he offered sponsorships for players in Shinde’s club to be a part of various KPL teams. These players were involved in match fixing,” Sandeep Patil said.
Bengaluru Commissioner Bhaskar Rao revealed that players were filmed during expensive trips abroad to Dubai and the Caribbean after they were 'honey-trapped'. The videos were used to blackmail them into fixing games.
Earlier, the police issued a lookout circular against former Bellary Tuskers' owner Arvind Venkatesha Reddy, who is suspected to have fled overseas for his involvement in the KPL betting scam.
Since the investigation began after Belagavi Panthers' owner Asfaq Ali Thara was arrested on September 25, six persons have been taken into custody — Bengaluru Blasters players Gautam, Kazi, Nishant Singh Shekawat and Vishwanathan, their bowling coach Vinu Prasad and Bellary Tuskers drummer Bhavesh Bafna. The police also arrested Haryana-based bookie Sayyam for his role in the KPL betting scam.
CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi are former Karnataka Ranji players.
Started in 2008, and functioning as a feeder tournament for the IPL, KPL has emerged as a leading local franchise-based league with BCCI's approval. KPL also provides a platform to tap cricket talent from the Karnataka hinterland. As many as 16 KPL players have featured in the IPL.