C M Gautam, a first-class player who turned up for three IPL teams, and his former Karnataka teammate Abrar Qazi were on Thursday arrested for allegedly accepting money to spot-fix in the scandal-ridden Karnataka Premier League.
Bellary Tuskers captain Gautam, a former wicketkeeper-batsman, and his teammate Qazi were arrested by the city’s Central Crime Branch, which is investigating charges of spot-fixing in the last two seasons of KPL.
“We have arrested two players with regards to KPL fixing,” Additional Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil told PTI, adding that some more arrests may be made as the investigation progresses.
Both Gautham, who plays for Goa now, and Kazi, who represents Mizoram, had been named in their respective state squads for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament, scheduled to begin on Friday. Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is the national T20 tournament.
Police said the two were involved in fixing in the KPL 2019 finals between Bellary Tuskers and Hubli Tigers after accepting Rs 20 lakh each for slow batting. Hubli Tigers won that match by eight runs.
“They were paid Rs 20 lakh for slow batting, and for other things. Also, they fixed another match against Bengaluru team,” an investigation officer said.
The arrest comes close on the heels of the detention of Bengaluru team player Nishant Singh Shekhawat earlier this week. Three others, including the owner of the Belagavi Panthers’ team, have been arrested since the scandal came to light a couple of months ago.
Gautam and Qazi have played in domestic cricket and the Indian Premier League as well.
The 33-year-old Gautam is a seasoned campaigner having turned up for Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
The 30-year-old Kazi played just one match for the RCB back in 2011, failing to make much of an impact. He has 17 first-class appearances to his name.
Gautam, perhaps the biggest name to be caught in the scandal, has 94 first-class games to his credit and was a regular in the Karnataka team. He shifted allegiance to Goa this season.
On October 26, Bengaluru Blasters bowling coach Vinu Prasad and batsman Vishwanathan were arrested in connection with the fixing scandal.
The coach allegedly manipulated a game between Bengaluru Blasters and Belagavi Panthers last year.
The KPL fixing came to limelight with the arrest of Ali Ashfaq Thara, who owned the Belagavi team.
KSCA suspends Belagavi Panthers over fixing scandal
Meanwhile, the state cricket association announced the suspension of Belagavi Panthers franchise, whose owner Ali Ashfaq Thara is among the six people arrested so far in connection with the scandal.
The announcement came on a day when C M Gautam, a first- class player who turned up for three IPL teams, and his former Karnataka teammate Qazi of Bellary Tuskers were arrested for allegedly accepting money to spot-fix matches in the KPL.
So far six people have been arrested over the scandal that came to light with the arrest of Thara recently.
“Based on the initial investigation report, the KSCA has suspended the owners of franchise - Belagavi Panthers, one of the franchisees of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).
Incase they are found guilty, their franchise will be terminated,” the Karnataka Cricket Association said in a statement.
The KSCA said that any other franchise, players, match officials and support staff who are arrested with prima facie evidence of their involvement in any illegal activity will be suspended immediately and if found guilty, appropriate and stringent action will be taken forthwith.
The state cricket body said it has been extending all possible cooperation to the investigating police in unearthing any such incidents and for taking appropriate action against those who have committed illegal acts.
Asserting that it was committed to organising cricket tournaments which are fair and transparent that would enhance the credibility of the sport, the brand and the organisation, the KSCA said it cannot condone any illegal activities such as betting and match-fixing.