The ED has been investigation money laundering charges of an estimated Rs 5,000 crore in connection with the app and has so far conducted searches at 39 locations and seized illegal assets worth Rs 417 crore.
The app’s two main promoters, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, are wanted in connection with the probe. Chandrakar had come under the ED’s scanner once again in August for hosting a lavish Rs 200-crore wedding in the UAE.
Here is everything you need to know about the Mahadev betting app case
What is this app?
According to the ED, Mahadev Online Book provides online platforms for illegal betting in different live games such as “poker” and other card games, chance games, cricket, badminton, tennis, football and others, even providing an avenue to bet on various elections in India. It also provides a facility to play several card games such as “Teen Patti”, “poker”, “Dragon Tiger” and virtual cricket games among others.
The app is run from a head office in the UAE and operates by “franchising ‘panels’ or branches to their known associates and small punters on 70:30 profit ratio”, the ED said.
The app’s founders
The app was launched in 2018 by its two main promoters Uppal and Chandrakar, who are currently residing in Dubai. At present, the company runs from Dubai, where online betting is legal.
The ED’s investigation so far
The agency is also in the process of issuing Red Corner Notices (RCN) against Chandrakar and Uppal. A special PMLA court in Raipur has also issued non-bailable warrants against the absconding suspects in order to get the RCNs issued against them. The agency in August arrested businessmen brothers Sunil and Anil Dammani, assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Chandra Bhushan Verma, and Satish Chandrakar in the case.
Chandrakar’s lavish wedding
In August, Chandrakar came under the ED’s scanner once again when he spent Rs 200 crore on his lavish wedding in the UAE. Celebrities were hired to perform at the marriage, and his family members were flown down from India in private planes, according to the ED.
“Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal have created an empire for themselves in the UAE. The sudden and illegal riches are being openly flaunted by them,” the ED said in a statement at the time.
Bollywood celebrities summoned
Ranbir Kapoor was first among the list of Bollywood celebrities summoned by the ED this week for allegedly promoting the app. Officials alleged that he had allegedly received money in cash. A senior official from the ED said that the actor has been instructed to appear for questioning on October 6.
However, it appears that the actor has written to the agency seeking more time to appear before them.
The next day, several other celebrities — including hraddha Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Hina Khan and comedian Kapil Sharma — were called in for questioning. The officials revealed that the agency wanted to inquire on the payment that the actors have received for promoting the app due to which they were called for questioning.
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