Meghalaya cricket denies signing up for dubious T20 league

Even before making its debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Thursday, the Meghalaya Cricket Association finds itself in middle of a controversy.

Meghalaya is making its debut in the Indian domestic cricket this season. (Representative image)   -  Facebook/Naba Bhattacharjee

Even before making its debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Thursday, the Meghalaya Cricket Association finds itself in middle of a controversy.

With reports emerging that the Meghalaya Cricket Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Orient Tradelink — an event management company run by Aushim Khetarpal, who was previously alleged of having match-fixing links — to organise a T20 league. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has now asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Anti-Corruption unit to look into the matter.

But then, Meghalaya state association’s secretary, Naba Bhattacharjee, has denied such reports claiming that ‘no MoU has been signed’. When contacted, BCCI’s ACU chief, Ajit Singh, also told Sportstar that the tournament was not recognised neither by the BCCI nor the state association. “If the tournament is unauthorised then no player affiliated to the state association and the BCCI can play in the league,” Singh said from Dubai.

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Bhattacharjee, clearing the association’s stance, said: “The person in question (Khetarpal) had come up with a proposal and met the Chief Minister (Conrad Sangma, who is also the chief of the cricket body). But once we found out about his dubious past, we did not take the matter forward. There is no question of having an MoU.”

The seasoned administrator, who is also the convenor of BCCI’s New Area Development Committee (NADP), also added that the association has written to the concerned media outlet stating that the ‘news of the association signing an MoU’ with Khetarpal’s company was ‘wrong’. “We want to keep records straight. We are no way involved in the league and there has not been any agreement,” he said.

Efforts of reaching out to Khetarpal, however, failed. While he remained unavailable over phone, messages on Facebook, too had no replies. Former New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming, and England all-rounder, Chris Lewis, had claimed that Khetarpal had offered them 30,000 pounds to fix a Test match in 1999, but Khetarpal, who has now turned into an actor-producer and spiritual guru, had earlier refuted those claims, calling them a ‘figment of imagination’. He also got a clean chit by the Scotland Yard, which was investigating the case.