In May this year, Tehelka Special Investigation Team exposed how “Not for Sale” complimentary passes of Indian Premier League were turning out to be yet another scam. Tehelka reporters as decoy customers recorded on camera touts, who “specialise” in selling “Not for sale” complimentary IPL passes that are meant to be distributed “free of cost” as a gesture of goodwill to government officials, consultants and others.
Now, as Cricket World Cup 2023 fever grips the nation, a Tehelka SIT report has found that ticket touts are making a killing by selling complimentary passes for a price. It comes on the heels of IPL complimentary passes controversy that this media house uncovered. It was also revealed that whenever the authorities decide to levy GST on complimentary tickets, the IPL franchisees of the Board of Control for Cricket in India were quick to contest these arguing that there is no monetary consideration and it was just meant for the promotion of sports.
During investigations, our reporters noted that before the start of the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India, cricket fans were miffed by the staggered way tickets went on sale for the general public. The ticket sale began on August 25, just 41 days before the opening match. Also, the ticket booking process was far from hassle-free. Fans had to first register to book tickets and then wait for hoursbeforeeven having an opportunity to make a purchase. Unfortunately, for many fans, that coveted chance never materialized. However, if one could grease the palms of the touts, the complimentary passes for Cricket World Cup matches were available aplenty. This proves the dictum that “there is no such thing as a free lunch” because it is impossible to get something for nothing. From time to time, the police have been registering cases for cheating and forgery for selling such tickets but the racket continues with impunity.
The modus operandi is simple: the touts procure these in exchange for money and then these are sold at a hefty price which is determined on the basis of the fixtures. For instance, India-Pakistan matches are always a big draw for cricket fans. Reports suggest that for the India -Pakistan encounter on 14th October, cricket fans had purchased tickets for the marquee encounter for Rs 35000 from the black market. There were reports that someone purchased a ticket for Rs 60,000. Some media houses reported about the black marketing of the cricket world cup tickets. According to these reports, the Board of Control For Cricket In India [BCCI ] had already sold all the tickets online. Despite that, a big crowd was not seen in the stadium. This meant that black marketeers had booked tickets online and were selling these at inflated rates. Little doubt crowds were keeping away from the cricket stadiums.
Tehelka SIT has done its job and now the ball is in the court of ICC and BCCI to initiate action!