Karnataka Premier League side Belagavi Panthers have been suspended with immediate effect after the franchise's owner Ali Ashfaq Thara was arrested along with five others over a match-fixing scandal. The arrest includes prominent first-class cricketer CM Gautam and his Karnataka teammate Abrar Qazi among others. It has been reported that the duo accepted money to underperform in the KPL matches last season. The Karnataka Cricket Association said in a statement:
“Based on the initial investigation report, the KSCA has suspended the owners of the franchise - Belagavi Panthers, one of the franchises of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).
In case they are found guilty, their franchise will be terminated.”
It has been further clarified by KSCA that any players, match officials or umpires who has been arrested in connection with the incident based on the first impression will be suspended immediately. Stringent actions will be taken against each individual if they are found guilty.
Meanwhile, the KSCA has so far been very cooperative with the police and has been helping them investigate the incident. All possible efforts have been made to take stern actions against all individuals who been involved in corrupt practices. The state body further clarified the fact that they cannot accept any illegal activities such as betting and match-fixing.
The tournament has been marred by controversies in the past as well. It was former cricketers Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath who decided to scrap the tournament after they took charge of KSCA in 2010. They had strict reservations on the corporate model used by the KPL and the involvement of outside cricketers into Karnataka Cricket. It was Brijesh Patel who revived the tournament in 2014 after Kumble and Srinath resigned from their posts.
Fixing and betting-related issues is nothing new in cricket. It was very recently that former Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was banned for two years (one year suspended) after he failed to report three cases where he was approached by a bookie to get some vital information. Shakib didn't accept the offer and neither did he leak any information but his failure to report the matter led to his suspension
Also see – Mushtaq Ali Trophy points table