Chennai, Sep 16: The ghost of fixing is back to haunt cricket in India after reports emerged that bookies approached a few cricketers playing in Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL).
The Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has initiated an inquiry after a few players from the TNPL received 'messages from certain unknown people'.
BCCI's ACU chief Ajeet Singh was quoted by ANI as saying, "Some of the players have reported that they received WhatsApp messages from unknown people. We are trying to track back the sender of the message. We have recorded statements of the players."
As per an Indian Express report, the ACU has found rampant corruption in the TNPL. An Indian player, an IPL regular and a Ranji Trophy coach figure in the BCCI's internal investigation.
BCCI’s ACU Chief Ajeet Singh says, “Some of the players have reported that they received WhatsApp messages from unknown people. We are trying to track back the sender of the message. We have recorded statements of the players.” https://t.co/UHZPmNg1L2— ANI (@ANI) September 16, 2019
Bookies and match-fixers, after taking control of a franchise through an illegal deal with the team owner, are running "the team in such a way that they make windfall gain in betting", the media report quoted sources as saying.
The report claims that it is a "serious development" has the potential to compromise virtually the entire T20 league which is organised by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). The sources have claimed that "important persons in touch with bookies are spreading in different teams".
The investigators got the wind of the alleged nefarious activity following a money dispute between those involved. The ACU is seeking legal opinion on this issue and is likely to lodge an FIR with the state police in the coming days.
ACU chief Ajit Singh was quoted by the news daily that players were approached by bookies on a few occasions. The players informed the ACU and they are trying to find out the persons involved in approaching the players.
"Usually, the messages come on WhatsApp, so we are trying to establish IDs. We haven't questioned any team owners, yet," Singh, who is a former Rajasthan DGP, was quoted as saying.
The eight-team TNPL is a popular domestic T20 league in the country and features top India players like Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, Vijay Shankar, and Washington Sundar, among others. The matches are telecast live on Star Sports Network with several international players participating in the league as commentators and mentors.