India: Fake IPL set up to dupe Russian punters

A gang of conmen leased a remote farm, hired labourers, and set up a cricket pitch



Representative Photo
Representative Photo

By AFP

Published: Mon 11 Jul 2022, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 11 Jul 2022, 7:27 PM

A gang of conmen set up a fake Indian Premier League tournament with farm labourers acting as players to dupe Russian punters.

The grifters managed to reach the quarterfinal stage of their so-called "Indian Premier Cricket League" before the racket was busted by Indian police.

The tournament began three weeks after the actual IPL concluded in May, according to police, but that proved no hindrance to the gang, who they said leased a remote farm in the western state of Gujarat.

Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

They installed a cricket pitch, complete with "boundary lines and halogen lamps," police inspector Bhavesh Rathod told reporters.

"Besides this the accused had set up high resolution cameras on the ground and used computer generated graphics to display scores on a live streaming screen," he added.

Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

The gang hired labourers and unemployed youths for Rs400 ($5) per game and broadcast the matches live over a YouTube channel called "IPL".

Players took turns to wear jerseys of the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans, police said, acting on the instructions of the Russia-based mastermind.

Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Crowd noise sound effects were downloaded from the internet and a speaker with a knack for mimicking one of IPL's real Indian commentators was used to make the tournament appear authentic.

At the same time the cameraman made sure that the entire ground was not shown, beaming close-ups of the players instead.

Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Russian punters were lured into betting their roubles on a Telegram channel set up by the gang, who would then alert the fake umpire on the pitch using walkie-talkies.

The supposed official "would signal the bowler and batsman to hit a six, four or get out," Rathod added.

A "quarter-final" match was being played "when we got a tip-off and we busted the racket," said Rathod.

The accused had received a first instalment of more than Rs300,000 (nearly $4,000) from the punters in Russia, Rathod said.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

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