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Gujarat police bust fake IPL T20 scam in Mehsana used to cheat punters in Russia

Equipment and gear kept for the fake IPL matches held at Gujarat's Molipur village (Pics. Courtesy Twitter/@ANI)

The Gujarat police have busted a bizarre scam in which fake IPL T20 matches were streamed on YouTube to cheat punters in Russia who placed bets on the Telegram app.

The incident took place in a remote farm at Molipur village of Mehsana district where 21 farm labourers and unemployed youth wore team jerseys posing as IPL players.

"They had umpires with walkie-talkie sets to officiate as they have in IPL and international cricket matches. The setup was good enough to trick unsuspecting people into believing it was a genuine cricket league," Achal Tyagi, the top police official in Mehsana district told Reuters on Monday.

To make it look authentic, the field was lit by halogen lights, the umpires flaunted their walkie-talkies, crowd-noise sound effects were added in the background from actual IPL matches. Clever camera angles and fake team names formed part of the hoax.

The scam was organised by Shoeb Davda who worked in a Russian pub for eight months before returning to Molipur village in Gujarat’s Mehsana village. There Shoeb met Asif Mohammed, who was the mastermind behind the scam.

Police official Bhavesh Rathod told the Times of India, “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,”.

The camera would then focus towards the sky and the commentator would say that the ball had gone for a 4 or a 6. They even had a person to mimic Harsha Bhogle, a well-known cricket commentator to make the YouTube broadcast look more authentic.