Bengaluru

Police: Bookies honeytrapped, blackmailed KPL players

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This has come to light after quizzing players held in match-fixing, betting scams

Details unearthed by the Central Crime Branch (CCB), which is probing the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) match-fixing and betting scams, appear to be getting murkier by the day. Bookies used female escorts to honeytrap players and blackmail them into following their instructions during important games, said Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao on Wednesday.

This came to light after the police questioned players who have been arrested in the case. “First, the bookies who ran the scam would organise parties at star hotels in foreign countries and invite escorts. They would then make videos of the interaction between the players and the women, without their knowledge, and use the clips to blackmail the players and their coaches. Fearing that the audio and video tapes would be leaked, players would follow their instruction,” said Mr. Rao.

The prime accused in the case is a bookie, Sayyam, from Haryana. A lookout circular had been issued against him after he fled the country when the scam came to light. He was arrested on November 10 at Delhi international airport when he returned.

To date, the police have arrested eight people, including a coach, cricketers, bookies, a drummer, and the owner of Belagavi Panthers team Ashfaq Ali Thara. Last week, a lookout circular was issued for Ballari Tuskers’ owner Arvind Venkatesh Reddy in connection with the case.

The CCB on Tuesday issued notices to the owners of other KPL teams and also to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). A team led by Joint Commissioner (Crime) Sandeep Patil is questioning all stakeholders as the police have reason to suspect that they were aware of the racket but had remained silent.

‘Bookies run the show’

Mr. Rao said cricket administrative bodies need to be more effective. “The Board of Control for Cricket in India and the KSCA, which are the two governing bodies, are supposed to monitor such activities and take necessary action. But they have become mute spectators,” he said.

Senior police officials said bookies have total control over the game. “The revenue generated from betting is much more than the revenue generated from the actual matches,” said a senior police official. The police are monitoring players who made frequent foreign trips in the recent past or received expensive vehicles and gifts that cannot be accounted for.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 3:15:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/police-bookies-honeytrapped-blackmailed-kpl-players/article30034261.ece

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