24 September, 2019
Belagavi Panthers owner Ali Asfak Thara was arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) in Bengaluru for allegedly betting during the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) tournament. The CCB, meanwhile, is conducting investigations to find out if there were any match-fixing activities involved in the KPL, which is organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association
The arrest that took place on Monday (September 23) was after the Police established that Thara - who came on board ahead of the 2017 season - was involved in betting activities with a Dubai-based bookie. As part of the investigation, players are also being questioned.
"We arrested Belagavi Panthers team owner Ali Asfak Thara for placing bets on matches. The accused placed bets with the help of a Dubai-based bookie. Regarding match-fixing, it is still under inquiry. Investigation revealed that Thara was in touch with players of other teams during KPL matches. The players are being questioned," said Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police, CCB.
The Panthers team have been with KPL since the tournament's inception in 2009. They won the title in the 2017 season while they finished second on the points table in 2019 before losing to Hubli Tigers in the Qualifier 2 match. India batsman Manish Pandey was also part of the Panthers squad this season and played for the side in four matches.
The arrest of the KPL team owner comes close on the heels of allegations of corruption in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, with both Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and the BCCI's Anti Corruption Unit conducting inquiries.