BCCI ACU: Players approached by suspicious persons in KPL too

Players have sent the ACU screenshots of WhatsApp conversations, where unknown people — posing as fans — sought information about matches and team combinations.

Belagavi Panthers and India batsman Manish Pandey in action at KPL 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

 

It is not the Tamil Nadu Premier League alone that has come under the scanner of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). The ACU has received ‘tip-offs’ about players being approached by unidentified people in other T20 leagues as well, including the Karnataka Premier League.

Top officials of the ACU have confirmed to Sportstar that quite a few players in the KPL this season reported suspicious approaches. Players have sent the ACU screenshots of WhatsApp conversations, where unknown people — posing as fans — sought information about matches and team combinations.

“Some of the players, involved in the KPL, have reported some instances where unknown people tried to be friendly with them via WhatsApp. We have taken note of their complaint and are looking into the matter,” BCCI ACU chief Ajit Singh said.

While he did not reveal any further details, it is learnt from highly reliable sources that the ACU is keeping a close tab on a few players — who have also played at the international level. There were allegations of malpractises in the KPL last year too, and the ACU had probed a few people. However, the investigation is still believed to be ongoing.

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“For the franchise leagues, the bookies usually make lesser-known players who hail from the districts as the soft targets,” a source said.

Singh agreed that the bookies usually take such an approach while trying to influence players. “However, it is a positive sign that the players are coming forward and reporting any suspicious activities. We are looking into all the aspects,” he said.

With allegations of corrupt practice surfacing, this season the BCCI had decided that its own ACU would be in charge of all the domestic leagues. Accordingly, a group of four ACU officers were deputed for the KPL and TNPL.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association stated that it was yet to receive any information from the ACU. "We have not got any official communication in this regard. Once we do, we will take further action," said KSCA Secretary R. Sudhakar Rao.

Apart from the four ACU officials from the BCCI, there was also one Team Integrity Officer (TIO), appointed by the KSCA, embedded with each KPL team. “They stay with the team throughout the tournament and are told to report any suspicious activity either to us or directly to the BCCI ACU. So far, we have not received any reports,” said KSCA spokesperson Vinay Mruthyunjaya.

With inputs from Shreedutta Chidananda