IPL cricket matches faked on farm and streamed online fool gamblers in audacious con
Audacious con artists fooled scores of Russian gamblers out of thousands of pounds after staging a fake Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament with farmers and village youths.
Matches were streamed on YouTube and social media app Telegram – complete with an impersonator of famous commentator Harsha Bhogle – while organisers took bets.
Camera operators would be careful not to pan out and reveal the location as nothing more than a remote farm in the Mehsana district, in Gujarat, north-west India.
The Time of India reports 21 farm labourers and “unemployed youths” were paid £4.25 per game, for which they donned IPL team shirts to the sounds of crowd noises played through speakers.
Despite displaying some questionable skills, the scam got as far as the quarter-final before police rumbled the operation just as more than £3,000 was being collected from lost bets.
Police official Bhavesh Rathod named Shoeb Davda as the “chief organiser”, adding he returned to the village after working for eight months in a Russian pub known for taking bets
“Shoeb would take live bets over the Telegram channel,” he said, according to the Times of India.
“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 instructions, the bowler would deliver a slow ball, enabling the batsman to hit for a four or a six.”
The makeshift cricket pitches were set up on the brown and dusty grounds of a farm, with what appears to be a white, rectangular carpet or patch of land.
Beyond the match action, camera shots would shift from the sky to the umpire when a particularly good shot was made.
Police have so far arrested four people and investigating the channel used to stream the bogus matches.