Mahadev Gambling App Scam: ED seizes property worth of Rs 417 crore

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Story Brief: Ed said that it’s probe into the Mahadev Gambling App Scam revealed that its creator Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal are the main promoters of Mahadev Gambling App and running it from Dubai.

Enforcement Directorate investigating money laundering cases related to Mahadev Gambling App Scam on Friday said that it has seized property of Rs. 417 crore after carrying out searches in Bhopal, Mumbai and Kolkata.

ED is probing a money laundering case which is estimated to be over Rs. 5000 Cr in connection with Mahadev Gambling App. Their probe has revealed that Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, who hail from Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai, are the main promoters of Mahadev Gambling App. They operating their work from Dubai.

Recently in a marriage one of the kingpins spent Rs. 200 Cr in UAE where his family members used Private Jets for their travel.

ED Press Note reads, “Sourabh Chandrakar & Ravi Uppal have created an empire for themselves in the UAE. The sudden and illegal riches are being openly flaunted by them. In February 2023, Sourabh Chandrakar got married at RAK (Ras Al-Khaimah), UAE, and for this marriage ceremony, the promoters of the Mahadev Gambling App spend around Rs. 200 Cr in cash. Private jets were hired to ferry family members from Nagpur to UAE. Celebrities were hired to perform in the marriage. Wedding planners, dancers, decorators etc are hired from Mumbai and hawala channels were used to make payments in cash.”

ED conducted searches at 39 places across Raipur, Bhopal, Mumbai and Kolkata. It seized assets worth Rs. 417 Cr.

What is Mahadev Gambling App Scam?

ED is investigating Mahadev Online Book Betting App which is an umbrella organisation. It arranges online platforms for enabling illegal websites to enroll new members, create user IDs and laundering of money via layered web of benami Bank accounts.

Mahadev Gambling App run from headquarters situated in UAE. It is operated by franchising ‘Panel or Branches’ to their known fellow associates on 70:30 per cent ratio.

“Large-scale hawala operations are done to siphon off the proceeds of betting to offshore accounts. Large expenditure in cash is also being done in India for advertising of betting websites to attract new users and franchise (panel) seekers” ED added.

As per digital evidence, ED said, “Rs 112 crorewas delivered via hawala to an events management company — R-1 Events Pvt Ltd of Yogesh Popat — and hotel bookings worth Rs 42 crore were done by paying in cash in AEDs.”

“Subsequently, searches were conducted on the angadias named Popat and resulted in seizure of unaccounted cash of Rs. 237 Cr” ED claimed.

ED explained that many celebrities have been endorsing these betting entities and performing at their programs. They charge hefty fees for their performances which also layered with fraudulent transactions. They were paid via proceeds of online betting.

ED conducted raid on the premises of Rapid Travels of Dheeraj Ahuja and Vishal Ahuja at Bhopal. This company was responsible for the ticketing operation of the Mahadev Gambling App promoters, family, and other operations related to travels.

“The illicit cash earnings from the betting panels were cleverly deposited by Ahuja brothers with main ticket providers, and the wallet balance was used to book domestic and international tickets. Rapid Travels was involved in making travel arrangements for most events of Mahadev group, including the annual star-studded events organized in UAE in the month of September,” it claimed.

“It was found that one Kolkata-based Vikash Chhaparia was handling all the hawala related operations for the Mahadev APP,” the agency added.

“ED conducted searches at his known premises and at his associates like Govid Kedia. It was found that with the help of Kedia, Chaparia through his entities — Perfect Plan Investments LLP, Exim General Trading FZCO and Techpro IT Solutions LLC — was investing heavily in Indian Stock market by way of Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route,” ED added.

“Accordingly, cash derivative and other security holdings worth Rs 236.3 crore in the name of entities beneficially owned by Chhaparia have been frozen by ED under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The agency also said that assets worth Rs 160 crore in DEMAT holdings of Kedia have also been frozen by ED.