How free are “free” IPL tickets?

“There is no such thing as a free lunch” is a popular adage suggesting that it is impossible to get something for nothing. This aptly applies to the IPL.  The “complimentary tickets” of the Indian Premier League are often distributed “free of cost” as a gesture of goodwill to government officials, consultants and others. Whenever the authorities decide to levy GST on complimentary tickets, the IPL franchisees of the Board of Control for Cricket in India are quick to contest these arguing that there is no element of consideration and it was just for the promotion of business.  

How free is free has often been a question because there have also been instances when even the complimentary tickets are sold at very high rates. During the ongoing IPL matches, the police registered three separate cases when persons carrying fake IPL tickets with copied barcodes sneaked into the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad during the IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians held on April 18.  Also, a case was registered for illegal entry into the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in Delhi during a match between Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians. Earlier the Marine Drive police registered a case of cheating and forgery for selling fake tickets outside the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai for IPL matches.

As the IPL is embroiled in one controversy after the other, a Special Report in this issue of Tehelka delves into how fake tickets, black marketing and selling of  “Not for Sale” complimentary passes, are turning out to be yet another scam. Tehelka reporters recorded on camera a tout, who runs his cricket academy in Faridabad but “specialises” in selling “Not for sale” complimentary IPL passes. He offered to provide complimentary “Not for Sale” passes to the Tehelka reporter who posed as a decoy customer to buy these for the match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders to be played in Delhi on April 20.  We actually purchased a complimentary IPL pass to establish the story and to nail the accused. Tehelka SIT has done its job and now the ball is in the court of regulatory authorities to initiate action.

The current issue also carries exhaustive reports as to how water is becoming the next new weapon of mass destruction; how law relating to defamation is being allegedly misused; and explosive revelations by former Governor, Satyapal Malik. As we go to print, top wrestlers continue their sit-in-protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against WFI chief accusing him of sexual harassment and intimidation. Tributes are still pouring in for five terms CM of Punjab and a powerhouse of politics, Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away on April 25. Author and journalist, Tarek Fateh who represented renaissance in Islam too is no more and his daughter Natasha Fatah in a tweet described him as the lion of Punjab, son of Hindustan and voice of the down-trodden.