The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police today revealed in a press conference that people from team management, former players, and middlemen were involved in spot-fixing in Nepal T20 Cricket League, promising players handsome sums of money and better career opportunities.

Police have identified at least 10 people involved in the scam, of whom two -- national team all-rounder Adil Ansari and former Nepali international player Mehboob Alam -- have already been arrested. However, police have neither arrested nor revealed names of others involved in spot-fixing, saying it would affect the investigation.

Of the 10 identified spot-fixers, six are foreigners, including four team managers, as per police.

The league was organised by the Cricket Association of Nepal and an Indian company, Seven3Sports, which served as CAN's strategic and commercial partner. The ill-fated sporting event, which was postponed thrice, came under scrutiny after allegations of match-fixing were made by a commentator.

Eventually, the CIB took over the investigation and found multiple instances of spot-fixing.

Police confirmed that Ansari threw at least one no-ball and one wide ball in two games for a price, while one unidentified foreign player scored as many runs as directed by his team manager.

CIB said it was team managers or their representatives who approached players for spot-fixing to begin with. "Former players like Alam, who have a better understanding of players' attitudes, would also approach players for fixing. Middlemen representing betting companies and event organisers were also involved," Senior Superintendent of Police Dinesh Kumar Acharya of CIB said.

Police said players were mostly approached in person, but phone calls and social media chatting platforms were also used for the purpose. "Not only big sums of money were offered, but players were also lured with opportunities to play in international leagues,"

Acharya said, adding that the CIB reached this conclusion after meticulous ball-by-ball study of each match and confessions made by those arrested in the light of several accusations made by those who know the game.

Police, however, failed to decipher any transaction of money, as "the sender and receiver would often create layers of middlemen when it came to money transaction.

"We are yet to find out how monetary transactions took place and who were the beneficiaries," SSP Acharya said.

Based on circumstantial evidence, the CIB suspects the co-organiser of the event, Seven3Sports, of being the mastermind of spot-fixing. It, however, lacks any solid evidence to prove its involvement.

The Seven3Sports had roped in 1XBat as the title sponsor of NepalT20 league, though it had no product or income to show. "1XBat claimed to have produced and sold sporting garments, jerseys, and sport materials. But as per its website, all the products were 'coming soon'. Moreover, it has no visible source of income," said Superintendent of Police Sanjay Singh Thapa at the press conference.

"Since 1XBat is a sister company of 1XBet, a famous platform for online gambling across the world, it leads to the suspicion that the co-organiser masterminded spot-fixing in a bid to generate money from betting," said a senior police officer.

The National Sports Development Act-2020 bars any form of match-fixing and irregularities in matches held in Nepal or those in which Nepal participates in foreign countries. Anyone convicted of the crime faces three years in jail, a fine of Rs 50,000, and confiscation of the transacted amount.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 24, 2023, of The Himalayan Times.