AHMEDABAD : The probe into the fake IPL matches has revealed that it was a Russian who had made the pitch for the con caper while the Indians back home were merely taking his orders to scam Russian punters. Till now, it was believed that Asif Mohammed and Ashok Chaudhary had orchestrated the scam. However, it now turns out that the mastermind is a Russian citizen who goes by the name “Efimov”, police said.
“A scrutiny of
chats of the accused has revealed that
is the mastermind. Asif and Ashok were working for him, and they planned the fake IPL in
and other places. Asif is a Pakistani citizen while Ashok is an Indian,” a Mehsana police official said.
Cops must be watchful of such criminal enterprises and nip them in the bud, lest they spread like a cancer and bring the entire game into disrepute. It is also the duty of every conscientious cricket fan to bring such fake leagues to the notice of authorities.
Besides, the fake IPL-like league, which accepted bets on a Telegram channel, was played not only in Molipur and Meerut but also in Pune and Jalandhar, police said.
Another officer said that besides Efimov and his Indian aides, two Russians and three Pakistanis were also involved in the scam. The probe began after the Mehsana police special operations group (SOG) caught four people in Molipur on Friday. On Tuesday, a similar racket was busted by Hapur police in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.
Mehsana SOG sources said that the gang focused on organising matches consistently to keep the money com- ing in from Russian punters who frequent pubs in Tver, Voronezh and Moscow. “Shoeb
, one of the accused caught from Molipur, had lived in Russia for eight months. He had returned to India recently. Asif and Ashok had instructed him to organise a T20 tournament to accept bets. It is he who suggested that the matches be held in Molipur,” said a police officer.
“They held at least 20 matches in Meerut. In case of any suspicion that their match venue was under the scanner, they would leave and pick another. Some matches were also played in Pune and Jalandhar. We are investigating them,” the officer added.
The matches were streamed live on a YouTube channel and a mobile app. Davda had readied 21 farm labourers, promising them Rs 400 per match in the league in Molipur. They even did umpiring, flaunting a few walkie-talkies in front of five HD cameras. Crowd sound effects downloaded from the internet added to the effect. And the organisers were audacious enough to begin the fake matches three weeks after the real IPL concluded.