Three weeks after the Indian Premier League (IPL 2022) ended, a group of conmen in Gujarat pulled off one of the biggest heists by staging a fake IPL tournament in Mehsana in Gujarat and duped multiple punters from Russia into betting lots of money in fixed matches.
All this was revealed in a report in the Times of India as to how a gang of 6-7 people from Molipur village of Mehsana district tricked Russian punters into betting money on an ‘IPL’ tournament in which labourers were paid to act as cricketers and umpires and a person from Meerut was called into mimic Harsha Bhogle on commentary.
It only came to an end when Police got wind of everything when the tournament had reached the “knockout quarterfinal” and nabbed organizers of the “Indian premier cricket league”.
The gang of cons who set up “IPL” matches at a farm in a Gujarat village accepted bets from punters in the Russian cities of Tver, Voronezh, and Moscow. The cricket matches were broadcast live over a YouTube channel labelled “IPL” for over a fortnight using five HD cameras.
It took the organizers 21 farm labourers and unemployed youths from the village, who took turns wearing jerseys of the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Gujarat Titans.
These same people were also doing the umpiring complete with fake walkie-talkies. Crowd-noise sound effects downloaded from the internet made the ambience appear authentic to the audience sitting in Russia.
Harsha Bhogle Reacts To The News Of Fake IPL Using A Person To Mimic Him On Commentary
A “commentator” from Meerut with a talent for mimicking Harsha Bhogle added to the feel of the fake tournament, inducing punters to bet their roubles on the Telegram channel set up by the gang.
Harsha Bhogle shared the photo of the TOI report and commented: “Can’t stop laughing. Must hear this “commentator“
Can’t stop laughing. Must hear this “commentator” pic.twitter.com/H4EcTBkJVa
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 11, 2022
“Chief organizer” Shoeb Davda, who returned to Molipur after working for eight months in a Russian pub famous for taking bets, helped execute the con.
“Shoeb hired the farm of Ghulam Masih and installed halogen lights there. He readied 21 farm labourers, promising them Rs 400 per match. Next, he hired cameramen and bought t-shirts of IPL teams,” police official Bhavesh Rathod said.
The first installment of bets from Russia amounting to Rs 3 lakh had just been delivered when they were caught.
“Shoeb would take live bets over the Telegram channel. He would instruct Kolu, the umpire, over a walkie-talkie to signal fours and sixes. Kolu communicated the same to the batsman and the bowler. Acting on the instructions, the bowler would deliver a slow ball, enabling the batsman to hit it for a four or a six,” Rathod said.