21 farm laborers from a village in the Mehsana district of Gujarat staged a fake “Indian Premier League” or IPL to con Russian gamblers in a betting scam. This fake IPL progressed through to the quarter-final stage before the organizers of the event were caught by the state's police.
Police have shut down a fake Indian Premier League built to fool Russian gamblers. Labourers paid to pretend to be pro cricketers, games streamed online, crowd noises downloaded and played over the top. Got to the quarter finals before they were caught.https://t.co/2KPkhrap1q
— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) July 11, 2022
According to police officials who are investigating the case, the so-called “IPL” began three weeks after the conclusion of the actual tournament, but the Russian punters still fell for the con because the Indian scammers had made elaborate arrangements to create an “actual” competition.
To execute their plans, the scammers leased a farm before converting it into a cricket field. Subsequently, they installed halogen lamps to organize night matches as was the norm in the original IPL.
“They installed a cricket pitch, complete with boundary lines and halogen lamps”, Inspector Bhavesh Rathod, the investigating police officer of the case 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.
During matches, the farm laborers masqueraded as cricketers by wearing official shirts of IPL teams.
What's more, the conmen hired a local mimicry artist who mimicked noted commentator Harsha Bhogle as he commentated during matches. All the games were broadcast on a YouTube channel named “IPL”.
The real-life scammers even flaunted several walkie-talkies on the five HD cameras that were installed to give a feel of reality to the Russian punters.
Crowd-noise sound effects from previous matches which were downloaded from the web further made the matches look authentic to the Russian audience.
All these punts from the Russians were taken on an “official” Telegram channel created to dupe them.
The architect of the con was an individual named Shoeb Davda who returned to the village after working in a Russian pub popular for taking bets on cricket matches.
“Shoeb hired the farm of Ghulam Masih and installed halogen lights there. He readied 21 farm laborers, promising them ₹400 per match. Next, he hired cameramen and bought t-shirts of IPL teams,” the police official said.
Unfortunately for the gang, however, the first installment of ₹300,000 they had received from the Russians was confiscated by the police after they caught them red-handed.
“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,” Bhavesh Rathod elaborated.
The audacious act of the cons didn't go unnoticed on social media as several Indian cricket fans took to Twitter to mock them for their “misadventure”.
“The group streamed the matches on YouTube. They took turns wearing kits of Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Gujarat Titans. The stream had downloaded sound effects to make it more realistic. They even hired a commentator who sounded like the actual commentator,” a Twitter user said.
“Indians are so advanced, they will scam the scammers,” another declared.
“I'm from Gujarat and I'm proud of them,” a third posted as he took a sarcastic dig at the scamsters.
“My lord this has to be the funniest thing I've heard all week,” a fourth claimed.
“Wow, I'm not aware of this one. Hilarious,” a fifth concluded.