TNPL team owner 'duped' of Rs 6 crore, ex-India A cricketer's name in FIR

TNPL team owner 'duped' of Rs 6 crore, ex-India A cricketer's name in FIR

CHENNAI: In a bizarre incident, an owner of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) team has apparently been duped of more than Rs 6 crore while trying to buy shares in a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team. 

M Selvakumar, the owner of Salem Spartans, had lodged a complaint with CCB - 1 police station in Chennai last year following which an FIR had been registered against four suspects/accused including domestic cricketers Robin Bist and Akash Sumra. The former was the coach of the Salem team while the latter played for the franchise last season.

Interestingly, Bist, who had played more than 100 first-class matches and had a stint with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL and India A, was again bought by Salem Spartans during this year's auction. The middle-order batter had retired from all forms of cricket last year.

The matter is under trial in the lower court and it is learnt that a couple of accused were arrested and produced in court. "Robin and Akash introduced me to Satish Kumar and Nitin Khokhar saying they own shares in a CPL team and wanted me to invest in their team," Selvakumar claimed while speaking with this daily. The FIR states that the owner had paid Rs 6.10 crore to Satish and Nitin on different occasions.

"When I realised I was duped, I demanded my money back but one of the accused threatened me with life. Left with no option, I approached the cops and registered an FIR." He later added that Bist was named for witnessing purposes.

Bist when contacted was shocked that he was named in the FIR. "I have to speak to Selvakumar sir. I only introduced the guys to him and cooperated with the cops in their investigation," the cricketer said.

The owner speaking on his decision to buy Bist for this season despite the incident said, "I will release him. I will request the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) for the same in a couple of days."

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The FIR says that in January 2023, before the start of TNPL matches, Bist and Sumra informed Selvakumar that they had been approached by Nitin Khokhar and R Satish Kumar stating that the duo owns shares of a CPL team and would like to invite the Tamil Nadu businessman to invest in their team.

Selvakumar told the cops that Satish and Nitin claimed that they own 27 per cent share in a CPL team and that he too would be allotted 25 per cent of shares if he invested in the team. "When I showed my interest, the above-mentioned two persons came to Chennai and met me.

They claimed that they themselves owned 27% share in a CPL team and they further showed various documents and convinced me of their genuineness. They also showed various workings to show that their shareholding in the company owning the team had a valuation of Rs 30 crore of shares and convinced me that if I invested a total of Rs 22 crore with an initial investment of Rs 6 crores I will be allotted 25% shares," said the FIR.

The FIR stated that Selvakumar told the police that the accused had allegedly invested his money in a resort. He also told the cops that the assurances given by Bist and Sumra convinced him which eventually made him to invest. "They promised to stand guarantee to see that the money I invest is protected and the transaction is successfully completed.

Based on the assurances and promise made by Satish and Nitin, the presentation and projections of Sam and the assurances given by Bist and Sumra for their credibility, I got completely convinced at that time and agreed to acquire the 25% shares and was induced to part with my money to make the investment.

I made an initial payment of Rs 10 lakhs to Satish and Nitin by way of cash in Chennai on 09.02.2023. Thereafter on their instructions, further payments were made to them through RTGS to various accounts, which they claimed was theirs and that of their associates, specified by them," said the FIR further.

Sam, whose name was mentioned in the FIR, was introduced as a cricket agent and investment advisor by the duo to Selvakumar. It was informed to the owner that Sam stays in Dubai and he will coordinate the financial transaction and guide them in the acquisition of shares by complying with all the prevailing laws.