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IPL 2019 Matches Fixed? CBI Books Seven Allegedly Corrupt Indians With Pakistani Links

Reports emerged that match-fixing rackets had allegedly influenced the outcome of IPL 2019 matches based on inputs from Pakistan.

IPL 2019 Matches Fixed? CBI Books Seven Allegedly Corrupt Indians With Pakistani Links
IPL was rocked by spot-fixing and betting in 2013. Photo: IPL

Match-fixing has reared its ugly head again in the Indian Premier League (IPL). As teams jostled for the final dash to make the IPL 2022 playoffs, reports emerged that match-fixing rackets had allegedly influenced the outcome of matches based on inputs from Pakistan.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked seven suspected punters in connection with two separate cases related to the alleged fixing of 2019 IPL matches "based on inputs" from Pakistan, PTI reported quoting officials on Saturday. The racket allegedly operating from Rajasthan is continuing since 2010 while another is on since 2013.

The central agency has already started a country-wide probe and was carrying out searches at seven locations in Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

The CBI has named one Dileep Kumar, based in Rohini, Delhi, and Gurram Vasu and Gurram Satish based in Hyderabad in its first FIR as accused while Sajjan Singh, Prabhu Lal Meena, Ram Avtar and Amit Kumar Sharma, all from Rajasthan, have been named in the second, the report continued.

"A part of the money received from the general public in India on account of such betting activities is also being shared with their associates based in foreign countries using hawala transactions," the FIRs alleged.

Modus Operandi

The officials said that the racketeers have bank accounts (mule accounts) using fake identities and know your customer (KYC)documents in connivance with the unknown bank officials.

"These bank accounts have been opened by submitting forged details such as multiple dates of birth and without due diligence done by the bank officials.

"A part of the money received from the general public in India on account of such betting activities is also being shared with their associates based in foreign countries using hawala transactions," the FIRs alleged.

"The information reveals that this network of individuals was involved in cricket betting during Indian Premier League (IPL) Matches held in the year 2019.

"The persons involved are running the racket of cricket betting, committing fraud by inducing betting by the general public and thereby deceiving public of their hard-earned money and also indulging in impersonating their identities in operating various bank accounts," the FIR related to Delhi-Hyderabad racket alleged.

In the Rajasthan racket, the CBI has found that they were allegedly sharing part of the money received from the general public in India from betting activities with their associates based in foreign countries using hawala transactions while the modus operandi remains similar to the Delhi-Hyderabad group.

In the Rajasthan group, the CBI has alleged that accused Singh, Meena, Ram Avtar and Sharma were in contact with one Pakistani suspect who contacted them and some unknown persons in India through a Pakistani Number +9233222226666 .

"The information reveals that aforesaid accused persons are part of network involved in illegal cricket betting activities," the FIR alleged.

The accounts of Singh show there are three different dates of birth in documents submitted to UCO Bank.

"The transactions in the accounts are circular in nature. The summation of the suspicious amount credited in the account of Sajjan Singh valued more than Rs.33.23 lakhs from the F.Y.2010-11 to F.Y 2019-20.

"The information reveals that this network of individuals was involved in cricket betting during the then-ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) Matches held in the year 2019 in Delhi and other places," the FIR alleged.

Troubled Past

The 15th edition of IPL started on March 26 with two new teams -- Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Kings -- joining the bandwagon. As things stand now, they are at the top of the points table, with Hardik Pandya-led Titans already confirmed a playoff spot. KL Rahul's Super Giants are also a favourite to finish top-four in the league stage.

For the record, CVC Capital Partners, who were awarded the Ahmedabad franchise by the BCCI, ran into trouble for its links with betting companies. Former IPL boss Lalit Modi also questioned CVC Capital's entry into the league.

It's worth noting that the IPL was rocked by spot-fixing and betting in 2013. In fact, cricket and match-fixing remain inseparable. Every year, innumerable reports of match-fixing in various cricket leagues emerged.

Days before the start of the IPL 2022, former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor confessed that he was asked to fix matches by Indian businessmen.

As recently as January this year, a former IPL player Rajagopal Sathish filed a complaint in Bengaluru alleging that he was offered a sum of INR 40 lakhs for fixing a match.

It is also learned that before going to the police, Rajagopal Sathish raised the issue to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and International Cricket Council (ICC).

In the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal, which rocked the cricket world, three cricketers -- three cricketers, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- were arrested by the Delhi Police and subsequently, two teams -- Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals -- were suspended for two years.

The scandal led to the formation of the Mukul Mudgal Committee under the guidance of the Supreme Court, which made sweeping changes in the manner in which the sport is run in the country.

(With PTI inputs)

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