Farm labourers in a remote village in Gujarat pulled off a major scam with a fake Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Russian punters. The 21 labourers acted as players along with a Harsha Bhogle mimic as a commentator for the event. They also created an official Telegram betting channel to enable bets for the remote audience. The fake IPL matches were broadcasted live on a YouTube channel.

The T20 cricket tournament was held in Molipur and had reached the knockout quarter-final stage in a fortnight before the cops caught the labourers and put an end to the fake IPL scam. The con gang had taken bets from punters in multiple Russian cities including Moscow, according to the Times of India.

The matches began three weeks after IPL 2022 concluded. The fake IPL games had players wearing jerseys of teams like Mumbai Indians (MI), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Gujarat Titans (GT).

Labourers involved received ₹400 per game to act as players. Umpire actors used walkie-talkies and the players were sent instructions on what to do within the game. Five HD cameras were used to broadcast the matches. Audience noise was also added to the broadcast to make it authentic to the Russians.

INR three lakh recovered by police from fake IPL; four arrested

The first instalment of ₹3 lakh was recovered by the police after catching the con gang. Chief organiser Shoeb Davda had previously worked in Russian pubs and masterminded the scam. Shoeb along with Sadiq Dava, Saqib, Saifi and Mohammed Kolu created the elaborate IPL betting scam.

“Shoeb hired the farm of Ghulam Masih and installed halogen lights there,” police official Bhavesh Rathod was quoted as saying by TOI. “Shoeb would take live bets on the Telegram channel. He would instruct Kolu, the umpire, over the walkie-talkie to signal fours and sixes.”

Watch: Fake IPL match video clip

Jordan Elgott from BBC Sport released a clip on his Twitter account of the fake IPL match between Chennai Fighters and Gandhinagar Challengers. The clip was shown to the UK subscribers of the BBC on their television and online portals.