hi INDiA Copyright 2022
Kolkata, May 11: Amid soaring demand, tickets for Saturdays crucial IPL clash between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens are being sold in the black market at a premium of up to four times their official prices, eyewitnesses said.
An IANS correspondent, who toured of the vicinity of the Eden Gardens, found desperate ticket seekers haggling with the black marketers with no police personnel in sight.
While the counters, including the one in the Eden Gardens Club House — that houses the headquarters of the Cricket Association of Bengal — all closed, with tickets sold out, the action shifted to the surroundings.
A large number of cricket buffs stood waiting at the Battala, infamous since ages for being the hot spot of black marketing of tickets. Crowds also collected near the Akashvani Bhawan, and the East Bengal and Mohun Bagan grounds, looking for the "priceless" tickets.
Ticket sellers emerged from nowhere every now and then, quoting huge rates.
Tickets officially priced at Rs 400 and Rs 500, changed hands for Rs 1,500-2,000. Higher priced tickets – of Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 denominations – got buyers at double the rate.
The craze shot up further after KKR officially announced team co-owner and Bollywood mega star Shah Rukh Khan along with his huge entourage would watch the game.
Shah Rukh has not been seen at the Eden Gardens this IPL season. "King Khan" graced the stands only at Rajkot in KKR's first away tie which they won by 10 wickets.
The sublime form of Mumbai Indians, mentored by Sachin Tendulkar and skippered by Rohit Sharma, and the Saturday fixture being KKR's last home outing this season, have also given a fillip to the mad rush for tickets.
Mumbai Indians have already made the cut for the play-offs, while KKR look within striking distance.
The police, however, said they had no knowledge about tickets being sold at astronomical prices.
"As of now, we have not received any information. We are keeping a close watch on this and police personnel are deployed near the ticket counters," joint commissioner of city police (crime) Vishal Garg told IANS.