Cashing in on the frenzy surrounding the Indo-Pak World Cup clash in Ahmedabad, scamsters have duped hundreds of fans with fake tickets to the stadium. The police have arrested two youngsters, seizing 650 fake tickets so far, and the count is rising.
The accused include a 12th-grade student believed to be the mastermind. The other one in the police net is Pradeep Thakor, a second-year BBA student. The supplier of the fake tickets, Vicky Chauhan, however, remains elusive.
Last Wednesday, four individuals were caught red-handed with 150 fake tickets. The trail led to a tea stall in Shahibaug, where Vicky Chauhan handed over 423 fake tickets to Thakor and the underage mastermind. However, a majority of these tickets were destroyed as police closed in on the suspects.
These counterfeit tickets, bearing price tags of Rs 6,000 and Rs 4,500, were sold at an exorbitant markup, fetching ten times their face value.
The challenge for authorities is that the fake tickets are almost identical to the real ones, complete with scannable barcodes, causing concern for potential overcrowding at the Narendra Modi Stadium on match day.
To mitigate chaos, police have formed ‘Anti Morcha’ teams. Officers deployed at the stadium are equipped with electronic ID cards to authenticate their identity, ensuring only legitimate ticket holders gain entry.
Fake tickets were also sold online and physically, in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Rajasthan.
Police say the actual tickets reveal a pink hue when slightly torn and display characters on the reverse when viewed under a magnifying glass. They urge fans to verify their tickets beforehand.
As part of the security measures to stop the sale and spread of fake tickets, decoys have been put in place to nab suspects, and mock drills have been conducted to ensure seamless coordination among security personnel. Special uniforms have been introduced for officers on duty to maintain a strong yet approachable presence. “The cops will wear a black T Shirt with police written on it and green cargo pants. The shoes will now be the same but later on they will be identical to what the NYPD wears,” said a police official.