Almost 200 cricket fans were in for a rude shock as they arrived in Sydney ahead of the India vs Australia 3rd Test only to be informed that the "special meet and greet" event they had paid a small fortune to attend, was a scam. It has become apparent that the wily scammer has been carefully planning this false endeavour since the beginning of the IND vs AUS 2020 series. The first advertisements for the fake event went up weeks ago, during the 3rd ODI between India and Australia yet no one realised the scale of the crime until this Tuesday, by when it was already too late.
Lured in with the grand promise of a tête-à-tête with members of the Indian men's Cricket team coupled with Michelin-starred food, more than 200 fans are said to have paid anything between $500-550 AUD (approx.₹28,500) for tickets to a meet and greet session on January 5. The event was supposed to be held at the popular Sydney fine dining establishment - Manjit's Wharf - which is a common go-to place for the Indian team when they are in Sydney, making the scam even more believable.
According to Manjit's General Manager Deep Gujral, the person organizing the event did get in touch with restaurant management back in September but failed to make the payments necessary to book the place for the event. “The deposit for booking the entire restaurant is AUD 75,000 (INR 42.5 lakh approx.), but he paid only AUD 1,000 (INR 56,800) upfront. When we approached him for the rest of the deposit we got no answer. So we knew his event wasn’t going to happen” Gujral said.
He also confirmed that the restaurant had reported the person, who is now in police custody. "The police luckily caught the guy and he’s in lockup. Now he’ll have to start paying back for everything he’s done,” he added. The New South Wales police have requested anyone who paid the man for the fake tickets to get in touch with them, but it remains unclear how much of their money, if any, they can recover.
Meanwhile, the Indian team might as well go grab a bite while they are in Sydney, as the Sydney weather forecast looks anything but promising. With play already having stopped twice due to rain, the Accuweather prediction for day 2 does not look good either. However, things should clear up considerable in the last two days of the match, allowing enough time for the match to reach a conclusion. With just 55 overs bowled on Day 1, the hosts are 166/2. Play should resume at 5:00 am IST on Friday.
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