Nearly 200 were conned in the hope of enjoying a 'meet and greet' session with Indian players. Fliers with the message “Meet and Greet with the Indian Cricket Workforce” had been seen at stadiums all by means of the India-Australia ODI and T20 sequence.
The event was to be held on the Manjit's Wharf restaurant, Sydney on January 5, simply when the Indian Check squad was to land in Sydney. For $550 (Rs 31,083) per head, there was a promise of “superb meals, beer, wine, soft drinks, interviews and Q&A’s".
Deep Gujral, General Manager at Manjit's Wharf, too was taken for a ride by the promoter of the event that never happened, who has been arrested. Gujral, during an interaction with The Indian Express from Sydney, said that the alleged fraudster got in touch with him in September.
“He got in touch with us quite a few months back, which is not unusual. Since ours is a Michelin starred and chef hatted restaurant, a table for two will take four weeks on the waitlist,” told Gujral.
Gujral said the Indian Team usually dined at the restaurant. He also said they have been delivering meals to the cricketers regularly.
“We look after the catering of the Indian team whenever they’re in Sydney. And every second day we have players over here, even (Virat) Kohli, who is vegan. We have an outdoor section, which is reserved for them. The players have my number, so they call and tell me if they’re coming or if they want something delivered,” he says.
“Right now we send food to the hotel, be it their morning Upma or Pongal, or some of the North Indian dishes. So we have a good tie (up) with the team. And they’re the ones who gave me the information that this scam is going on. It’s been over a month since we informed the police, who have now caught the guy.”