India’s cricket board has extended a match-fixing crackdown to regional leagues after the arrest of a team owner for making illegal bets with a Dubai-based bookie, officials said Wednesday.
Ashfaq Ali Thara, owner of a team in the Karnataka Premier League — a state-level Twenty20 competition — was arrested in Bangalore on Tuesday, police said.
Thara, who also owns a team in the Dubai T10 League, is under investigation for placing bets with a Dubai bookie, and is also being quizzed over a possible role in fixing matches.
“He has been arrested for betting and they are investigating other aspects,” Ajit Singh, chief of the anti-corruption unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told AFP.
The incident comes a week after the unit launched an inquiry into an approach by suspected match-fixers to players in this years Tamil Nadu Premier League.
A member of the Indian women’s team was also approached by a bookie, and two suspects handed over to Karnataka police.
Singh, a former director-general of police, said there is now a greater focus on state-level leagues.
“The vigilance and awareness have increased and people are coming forward with it,” he said.
“We have been conducting education classes for the players. We have been in touch with the associations also.”
Gambling in India is illegal except in lotteries or horse racing, but thousands of bets are placed with illegal bookmakers at home and abroad on all aspects of cricket — from the result to the number of runs in a specific over.
There is also no law to check online gambling that is making its way into the Indian sports market, including cricket.
The Indian Premier League, the world’s wealthiest national league, was hit by a spot-fixing scandal in 2013 which resulted in two-year bans on two teams.
Many Twenty20 leagues — including the Pakistan Super League, Bangladesh Premier League and Dubai league — have had their own fixing scandals which led to bans on players.