TNPL franchises remain intact, but co-owners of Tuti Patriots expelled

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty
| Kolkata |

Published: December 5, 2019 1:14:36 am





BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier said that two TNPL franchises have been suspended in relation to allegations of corruption.

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has clarified that no franchise has been suspended. The state association, however, has expelled two co-owners of a franchise, acting on the recommendations made by the TNCA’s internal inquiry committee. It is learnt that a clarification in this regard has been sent to the BCCI.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had earlier said that two TNPL franchises have been suspended in relation to allegations of corruption that surfaced during this year’s tournament.“No TNPL franchise has been suspended or banned,” TNCA secretary RS Ramasaamy told The Indian Express.

However, acting on the advice of the TNCA’s internal probe panel that comprised a retired Chennai police commissioner, a senior lawyer and a former India spinner, the state association directed Tuti Patriots to change their ownership by getting rid of their two co-owners. Sources said as the inquiry panel did a background check, it noticed some alleged dubious links between the franchise co-owners and corrupters.

“We have asked Tuti Patriots to change their ownership pattern. They had three major stakeholders and two of them have been asked to go. The principal owner now has the entire control. We have informed this to the BCCI and its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU),” a TNCA functionary told this paper.

According to a state association insider, Selvakumar, who is the principal owner of the TUTI Patriots, will now have the full control of the franchise after the ousters of two co-owners. Earlier, after the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Sunday, Ganguly had addressed the alleged corruption issues in the T20 leagues organised by some state associations. “At the present the two leagues in which (alleged) betting and fixing happened, one is on hold; KPL (Karnataka Premier League), and Chennai (TNPL) has suspended two franchises,” the BCCI president had said.

This paper had first reported how bookies and match-fixers, after taking control of a franchise in the TNPL through an illegal deal with the team owner, were running “the team in such a way that they make windfall gain in betting”. The BCCI’s ACU chief Ajit Singh had clarified that players, coaches and team officials weren’t on the “wrong end”.

This was unlike the KPL, where ex-Karnataka captain CM Gautam and spinner Abrar Kazi were among the eight persons arrested for their alleged involvement in the corruption scandal. With regard to the TNPL investigation, the ACU had given clean-chit to the players, coaches and officials.

“Basically, we are trying to find out who made the approaches. Players, coaches, officials are complainants. In fact, they told us, ‘somebody called us on WhatsApp, or somebody sent a message, trying to get information about the matches’. They are not on the wrong end,” Singh, the former DGP of Rajasthan, told this paper a couple of months ago when the inquiry was on. The TNCA’s internal inquiry didn’t find any “actionable incidents”. The panel made “certain confidential recommendations to uphold and safeguard the integrity of the TNPL”.

It is learnt that the state association acted “confidential recommendations” to expel two TUTI Patriots co-owners. On Sunday, Ganguly had spoken about how even in the in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy a player was approached. The BCCI president vowed to deal with the problem – corrupters trying to influence T20 tournaments. “We are dealing with it and have to get anti-corruption system right,” he said.

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