Metrolife: IPL tickets sold out, but plenty in black

The man in black t-shirt was among the many openly selling tickets in black at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.DH PHOTO SRIKANTA SHARMA R

A black market in match tickets is thriving this IPL season. And everything happens in plain sight. 

The IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Wednesday gave ample evidence of the racket.

Matches in Chennai were cancelled following demonstrations in connection with the Cauvery dispute, and that had brought many CSK fans to Bengaluru.

Some had booked their tickets a month in advance, while others came in expecting to buy tickets at the counters. The second lot was in for a disappointment: they were officially told the tickets were sold out.

But that was just the official version. All around Chinnaswamy Stadium, touts were busy selling tickets and making a killing.

When this reporter reached the stadium at 5.45 pm, well before the start of the match at 8 pm, several men were openly selling tickets. 

The touts are usually between 22 and 30 years. They mingle with the crowd, but their body language makes it clear you can approach them for tickets.

 On sale were tickets of many denominations: Rs 800, Rs 1,750, Rs 2,500, Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000. 

The fastest-moving were Rs 800 tickets. When this reporter approached one of the men, he said, “I have five tickets. I am giving Rs 800 tickets for Rs 7,000 each. Grab it because there are others waiting.” 

He then went on to make a series of phone calls, indicating the involvement of a well-organised network.

This reporter followed him to Gandhi statue, just outside the stadium. His accomplices were busy selling tickets there.

Another gang was busy on the road leading to the back gate of the stadium. They were selling tickets priced at Rs 2,500 for Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 each.

Metrolife hung around the group and overheard the tout calling someone to bring in more tickets to cater to the rush.

“Don’t sell anything for less than Rs 8,000. I will meet you at the main entrance,” he, in turn, instructed someone over the phone. The dark corners and dimly lit spaces around the stadium are where the trade thrives. 

“We have four tickets of Rs 5,000 for Rs 10,000 each. This is the final price,” a tout was telling a prospective buyer. The man paid the money in cash and bought the tickets.

Many IPL fans were approaching the touts, and were willing to shell out the premium.

Rachit Vikas, a cricket buff, said, “We couldn’t get tickets either at the counter or online. I’m buying four tickets in black... it is not every day that we get to watch our favourites stars in action.”

‘Policemen in mufti catch them’

City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar says, “We usually depute police personnel in mufti to keep an eye on people selling tickets in black.”
Police book black marketers under the Karnataka Police Act. But not a single arrest has been made in this connection.
“If it is proved that an organised gang is behind the racket, we book of cases of cheating against them. The crime could mean imprisonment of up to eight years,” he says.

Everyone knows

The city’s top officials and policemen sit in the VIP boxes while the racket thrives all around them.

What’s the black rate?

* Rs 800: Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000
* Rs 2,500: Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000
* Rs 5,000: Rs 10,000

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Metrolife: IPL tickets sold out, but plenty in black

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