Fake tickets, black marketing and selling of ‘Not for sale’ complimentary passes are fuelling another IPL controversy. A report by Tehelka SIT.
The Indian Premier League [IPL] is arguably the world’s most famous T-20 league. However, the popular cricket league is no stranger to controversies. Ever since its inception, way back in 2008, there has been an abundance of hullabaloo surrounding this money-spinning razzmatazz. While cricket no doubt is at the heart of product, controversies knowingly or otherwise, have certainly helped IPL raise its profile by leaps and bounds. From spot fixing to ban on players, suspension of franchise, sacking of Lalit Modi as IPL chairman and rumoured involvement of black money in the league are some of the big controversies which have dogged the IPL over the years.
Now, fake tickets, black marketing and selling of “ Not for sale” complimentary passes, are turning out to be another IPL scam. News from various cities is pouring in that black marketers and touts are having a field day. Selling tickets in black for the high profile matches. According to media reports, in the past a ticket worth Rs 500 at various times has been sold at Rs 3000-7000. Similarly, IPL’s final tickets have been reportedly sold for a whopping Rs 2 lakh.
The black marketers have even started selling fake tickets in hotels, at railway stations and in colonies near the stadium. In the recent past, police of various cities have arrested black marketers, touts selling fake tickets for IPL matches. In April, 2023, as the 16th IPL season gets underway, the central District Police in Delhi has busted a racket involved in printing fake tickets for IPL matches. Along with this, the police have arrested five people including three minors. Despite all these arrests in various cities of India, business of fake tickets and black marketing of tickets business is continuing unabated.
What to talk about the black marketing and fake tickets business, even the complimentary passes of the IPL carrying “Not for Sale” warning on them are being sold in the market by the touts for Rs 15,000 per pass. The Delhi police during the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in 2010, arrested two, including a woman for selling complimentary tickets in black. The woman is claimed to have sold 50 complimentary tickets given to athletics in black.
Reports of fake IPL tickets, black marketing of tickets, and selling of “Not for Sale” complimentary IPL passes spurred Tehelka to carry out an investigation on this business, which, according to some, is turning out to be another IPL scam. In this connection, Tehelka reporters met Mukul Gupta in Delhi, a tout running a cricket academy in Faridabad, Haryana, for years. Mukul was selling “Not for sale” complimentary IPL passes of the IPL matches of 2023 to be held at Arun Jaitley Stadium, Ferozshah Kotla ground, in Delhi, at a fixed price of Rs 15,000 per pass. According to Mukul, the complimentary passes he is selling are the one given to Delhi & District Cricket Association Members [DDCA] the governing body of cricket activities in Delhi. Mukul claims that he purchases complimentary passes from the DDCA members, who get these passes from their association. Mukul came to meet us to sell complimentary “Not for Sale” pass of the match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders to be played in Delhi on 20th April, 2023. To expose this corruption, we posed as a fictitious buyer, who wants to see the match after purchasing complimentary pass.
Mukul – Actually complimentary jinse hamko milta hai na, unse bhi hum paisa dekar hi letey hain…kyunki member main hoon nahi…
Reporter- Ye toh players ke hotey honge..?
Mukul- Nahi nahi…players ke nahi, members ke
Reporter- Jo DDCA ke members hain…?
Mukul- Haan.. unhi ko miltey hain.. baki kisi ko nahi miltey complimentary pass..
Reporter- DDCA ke members ko miltey hain..?
Mukul- Only members.
Reporter- Ye jo tu mujhe complimentary pass de raha hai ye DDCA walon ka hai ?
Mukul- Haan.. DDCA walon ka.
Reporter- Is par likha hai “NOT FOR SALE”
Reporter- To bhai paise kam le le…?
Mukul- Phir wahi bacchon wali baat mat karo mere se..
[Mukul told Tehelka that he has purchased complimentary “Not for Sale” IPL passes from the DDCA members who get them from the association.]
Mukul was selling complimentary “Not for Sale” IPL passes at a fixed price of Rs 15000 per pass. When asked to give us a discount, he says he is not keeping the money with himself as he is passing on the amount to his other associate members.
Reporter- Bhai 15 K se kam karwa diyo…is baar zyada le raha hai…
Mukul- Bhaiya mein nahi le raha…aapko maine pehle hi bata diya….ye to bas dene hain aagey kisi ko..
Reporter- Tera kuch nahi ismein…?
Mukul- Apna kuch nahi hai…?
Reporter- Tu Faridabad se chalkar pass dene aa raha hai..tera kuch nahi hai…?
Mukul- Ek milna bhi to hota hai…
Reporter- Haan.. milna hai to you are always welcome…
[Mukul says that the money generated out of the sale of IPL complimentary passes will not remain with him. He will give that money to other members associated with him]
Despite knowing that complimentary IPL passes are “Not for Sale”, Mukul was selling them for Rs 15,000 per pass. He told reporters that he is not selling these tickets, but has come to deliver these to us out of love.
Reporter- Complimentary pass “Not for Sale”…is par likha hua hai bhai sahib..
Mukul- Haan to sale thodi na kar raha hoon..?
Reporter- Phir kya kar raha hai..?
Mukul- Main to aapko dene aaya hoon mohabbat mein..
Reporter- Isko paise mat do..phir..
Mukul- Dene aaya hoon mohabbat mein..
Reporter- Thode to kam kar de bhai..?
[Mukul knows that he is selling “Not for Sale” IPL complimentary passes for money. But when we refused to give him money because they are free, Mukul says he has come to meet us out of love]
Before 20th April match, Mukul had also offered us complimentary “Not for Sale” IPL passes of the matches held in Delhi on 4th April 2023, between Delhi capitals and Gujarat Titans, and on 11th April 2023 between Delhi capitals and Mumbai Indians. But we refused to purchase them. When he continued to follow us and offered 20th April match passes, which was the third IPL match in Delhi, we decided to meet him. In the meeting, Mukul assured us that he would provide us complimentary passes of future IPL matches as well for money.
Reporter- Acha ye kaunsa match hai Delhi mein
Mukul- 4th match hai..
Reporter- 3rd match hai..teesra.. ek to tu 7 ko de raha tha mujhe
Reporter- 7 April 2023 ka de raha tha mujhe, offer kiya tha mujhe…ek 11 ka..aur ab 20 ka…teesra match hai ye Delhi ka…2023 April….
Reporter- aagey matches ka scene kya hai passes ka..?
Mukul- Jaise- jaise aayegi mein bata dunga…
Reporter- wahi complimentary hongey na wo…NOT FOR SALE ?
Reporter- Kitna rate.?
Mukul- Dekhtey hain.
[ Before the 20th April IPL match. Mukul had also offered us complimentary passes for the matches held on 4th April and 11th April 2023 in Delhi. But we rejected the offer. But he again offered us the complimentary passes for the 20th April match. This time, we agreed to meet him. During that meeting Mukul assured us that he would arrange complimentary IPL passes for the future matches, to be held in Delhi, too)
Just to expose Mukul’s corruption and to prove that he is not just bragging but actually selling complimentary “Not for Sale” IPL passes, we bought one complimentary pass for the 20th April 2023 match held in Delhi for Rs 14,000 from Mukul. He charged Rs 1000 less than the Rs 15,000 price he had initially demanded for one complimentary pass.
Reporter – Poore 14 hazar ho gaye ye IPL ke pass ke… [Mukul took money on camera]
Mukul – Ha ha. IPL ke pass ke nahi…mohabbat ke..
[We bought IPL complimentary pass for the 20th April 2023 match to be held in Delhi from Mukul for Rs 14,000, Rs 1K less than what he had initially demanded for the ticket)
Tehelka purchased complimentary IPL pass to establish the story and the corruption emerging out of the business of ticket sale. However the purchased free pass was not used. The motive of buying the complimentary pass was not of watching the match, but to nail the corruption.
In 2011, the Delhi high court had directed the DDCA not to issue more than 10,000 complimentary passes for each of the four world cup cricket matches to be played at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. The court gave this directions while hearing a case filed by DDCA member, who had challenged the “arbitrary way” of the association’s executive committee in issuing complimentary tickets and sought a ceiling on it. The fake IPL tickets and complimentary “Not for Sale”IPL passes are sold by the black marketers and touts like Mukul at all the IPL venues in India since years. Cricket lovers have started believing that this is another IPL scam. The same has been established for the first time on camera by Tehelka.
IPL’s BRUSHES WITH CONTROVERSIES
Before this Tehelka’s expose on the illegal sale of complimentary passes, the IPL has been rocked by a number of controversies since its inception in 2008. We list the biggest controversies to have hit the IPL so far.
N Srinivasan’s son-in-law held for betting
“Cricket enthusiast” Gurunath Meiyappan, a CSK top official and son-in-law of then BCCI president N Srinivasan, was arrested for his alleged involvement in betting in 2013 edition of IPL. During the investigation, Rajasthan Royals’ owner Raj Kundra also confessed to betting. Both franchises were banned for two years from the tournament.
The Towel Trouble
In 2013, Delhi Police arrested three Rajasthan Royals players — Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — for spot fixing. Sreesanth allegedly used a towel as signal for the bookmakers, before conceding 13 runs in an over in which he had promised to give away 14.
Ravindra Jadeja banned
Ravindra Jadeja, currently one of the leading all-rounders in the country, back in 2010 was banned from playing in IPL after he tried to sign a new contract with another franchise (allegedly Mumbai Indians) without informing his team, the Rajasthan Royals, for whom he had played in earlier season.
TN slams door in Lankan players’ face
A huge controversy erupted in one season when the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who was eyeing a PM’s post, refused to entertain Sri Lankan players in the IPL matches to be played in Chennai. This extreme step was taken in response of the Sri Lankan Tamils issue which dominates Tamil politics. However, the surprising thing was that the all-powerful IPL governing council had to agree upon the decision and a total of 13 Sri Lankan players, including legends like Kumara Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were not allowed to play in Chennai citing security concerns.
Drug taint on Rahul Sharma , Parnell
Two players of Pune Warriors, which is now a defunct franchise, Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell were detained for allegedly consuming drugs at a rave party in Mumbai in 2012.The cricketers, who were found along several other well-known personalities from film and TV industry, were detained, but let off after undergoing narcotic tests.
Pakistan imposes IPL bar on its players
In the backdrop of terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, the Pakistan government deemed it was unsafe for its players to travel to India for the following year’s IPL.
Top players such as Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, and Umar Gul, who was playing for various franchises, were declined permission along with others.
BCCI suspends Lalit Modi
The IPL founder and chairman was suspended from his post by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after charges of financial wrongdoing emerged against him that year.
Cheerleader spills beans on cricketers
South African cheerleader Gabriella Pasqualotto (of MI) created quite a stir in the fourth edition of the IPL after she blogged about the questionable conduct of cricketers at post-match parties.
She was sacked from her role as a cheerleader by the IPL, but that did little to scuttle the controversy.
KKR dumps mighty Sourav Ganguly
The fourth season of the IPL saw the KKR dumping Sourav Ganguly after his base price reportedly increased from $200,000 (around Rs. 9 million) to $400,000 (Rs. 18 million).
The southpaw was later bought by the Pune Warriors as a late replacement for injured Ashish Nehra, but the KKR’s snub effectively ended Ganguly’s IPL career. The Prince of Kolkata however later went on to become President of BCCI.
Kochi Tuskers’ contract terminated
The franchise made its debut in 2011, but was terminated the same year after it failed to furnish its bank guarantee by the stipulated date of March 26.
In 2015, the team won an arbitration challenge according to which BCCI was ordered to pay Rs. 550 crore as compensation with an 18 percent annual penalty. The matter has since remained unsolved.
Wankhede rendered out of bounds for SRK
The Bollywood star and KKR co-owner was involved in an altercation with security guards at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai after his side’s win over Mumbai Indians. Khan was accused of walking onto the field after the game ended and abusing the officials. Mumbai Cricket Association banned Khan from entering the stadium for five years but revoked it in 2015.
Deccan Chargers’ contract terminated
The contract of the IPL franchise Deccan Chargers was cancelled by the BCCI after it failed to pay the stipulated bank guarantee of Rs. 100 crore. The team took the matter to court, alleging that the termination happened a day before the expiry of a show-cause notice. In 2020, a Bombay High Court-appointed arbitration tribunal held the BCCI guilty and ordered it to pay Deccan Chronicles Holding Ltd (DCHL), the owner of the franchise, Rs. 4,800 crore in damages. Notably, Deccan Chargers won the 2009 IPL which was held in South Africa.
Pomersbach held over molestation charges
The RCB batsman was arrested in New Delhi over a complaint of molestation filed by an American woman, who also claimed that the Australian player had beaten up her fiancé when he tried to intervene. RCB suspended Pomersbach’s pending inquiry, but all charges were later dropped after the complainants withdrew the case.
Kohli, Gambhir almost come to blows
Things went a bit too far when Kohli and Gambhir charged at each other after the former got dismissed. Remarks were exchanged, and Delhi player Rajat Bhatia had to pacify the duo. Things were, however, much calmer when the duo met in the 2016 edition.
Preity Zinta-Wadia row re-ignites
While Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta’s much-publicized romance reportedly ended a few years ago, the businessman-actress duo decided to continue their professional relationship. However, things went sour between the two when Zinta lodged a complaint with the police, accusing Wadia of threatening and molesting her during one of the IPL games at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.
Bombay HC’s marching orders for IPL
Acting on a Public Interest Litigation by an NGO, the Bombay High Court directed the BCCI to shift all IPL matches, scheduled after April 30, outside the state. The court said the use of water to maintain the pitches while there was a drought in the state was a waste of resources. The state missed out on hosting 13 matches, including the final.
Infact, the first controversies in IPL came before the tournament started. The inaugural IPL season coincided with the English County Championship season as well as New Zealand’s tour of England, which is why the ECB and county cricket clubs raised their concerns to the BCCI over players. The ECB made it abundantly clear that they would not sign No objection Certificates for players to play in the IPL, making it clear to them that their duty to the country comes first. As a result, Dimitri Mascarenhas was the only English player to have signed with the IPL for the 2008 season.
After the Central government granted tax exemption on the World Cup held in India to the ICC to the tune of Rs 45 crore, a PIL was filed against the IPL and its franchisees to recover entertainment tax. The matter was taken to the Finance Ministry because it was alleged that IPL tickets were being sold at exorbitant rates and only the rich could purchase them.
Sale of IPL complimentary pass is just the one part of the corruption in cricket. Tehelka has in store other parts lined up for the future.