Chandigarh, March 19
With the police today naming Punjab and UP gangsters in the murder of international kabaddi player Sandeep Nangal Ambian who was shot dead at Mallian village of Jalandhar on March 14, attempts of gangsters to dominate the world kabaddi tournaments have come to the fore. From forcing players to take part under their federations to betting and match-fixing, the gangsters are involved in it all. They attack players or organisers who do not toe their line.
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Apart from five major attacks in the past six months, there have been isolated incidents earlier too. In November 2019, North India Circle Style Kabaddi Federation president Surjan Singh Chatha had filed a complaint against alleged interference and threats by jailed gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria. SSP (Jalandhar Rural) Satinder Singh said four persons — Fateh Singh, Kaushal Chaudhary, Amit Dagar and Jujhar Singh — have been arrested in the Sandeep case.
He claimed, “Sandeep’s Major League Kabaddi was the top-ranked tournament. Our investigation revealed that Punjab gangsters, including Fateh Nagri and Jagjit Gandhi (both are yet to be arrested), hired shooters to kill Sandeep. This was done at the behest of Canada-based Snover Dhillon, who wanted Sandeep and other players to play for his National Kabaddi Federation.”
Some players and officials told The Tribune that gangsters force international players to take part in their leagues so that they could win bets and fix matches. “We were shocked when a support team employee was gifted a new car at a recent tournament,” alleged a player. An official said another player Faryad and his brothers, also from Jalandhar district, were attacked twice last year for refusing to bow before gangsters.
Jyoti Dhami, a player took to YouTube after the attack and gave a detailed description of the involvement of gangsters. “Gangsters and several distinguished persons are calling the shots and bringing disrepute to the game,” he alleged, adding, “Now, players fix their matches. They promise to lose a match in lieu of winning another.”
“A village-level tournament costs Rs 15 lakh on an average. Think of the international tournaments and the betting money would be anybody’s guess,” an official said.
Big money involved
An official said apart from cash awards, 29 motorcycles, two Jeeps and two combine harvesters were given as prizes at a tournament in Ludhiana district recently.
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