The government's action comes after intensive investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate into an illegal betting app ring
Searches at Mahadev Book's Chhattisgarh operations unveiled its unlawful activities, leading MeitY to intervene
The enforcement actions were initiated on November 5 following a directive from the Enforcement Directorate
In a significant move, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has clamped down on 22 illegal betting apps and websites, including the widely-known Mahadev Book app.
The enforcement actions were initiated on November 5 following a directive from the Enforcement Directorate.
The government’s action comes after intensive investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate into an illegal betting app ring. Searches at Mahadev Book’s Chhattisgarh operations unveiled its unlawful activities, leading MeitY to intervene.
The Mahadev betting app, allegedly overseen by individuals based in Dubai, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, is suspected of facilitating unlawful bets on a wide range of online games. The ongoing investigation is particularly focused on the app’s involvement in potential money laundering activities.
According to the Enforcement Directorate, the Mahadev betting app acted as an ‘umbrella syndicate,’ allowing users to place bets on various games, including card games, chance-based games, tennis, football, and cricket. The company allegedly enticed users to join its platform by creating new IDs and subsequently laundered the funds of these onboarded users through a complex network of Benami bank accounts. Reportedly, the platform has amassed proceeds amounting to INR 5,000 Cr through its operations.
In the wake of the Mahadev online betting app scandal, several film stars and government officials have come under scrutiny, including celebrities such as Ranbir Kapoor, Kapil Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, and Hina Khan.
Serious allegations have also surfaced against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in the case. Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar also said in the PIB release, “Chhattisgarh Government had all the power to recommend shutting down of website/app under Sec 69A IT Act. However, they did not do so and no such request was made by the State Government while they have been investigating it for the last 1.5 years.”
The Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet names 14 individuals, including alleged app promoters Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, as well as other accused individuals such as Vikas Chhapariya, Chandrabhushan Verma, Satish Chandrakar, Anil Dammani, Sunil Dammani, Vishal Ahuja, and Dheeraj Ahuja. The prosecution complaint also includes Srijan Associates through Punaram Verma, Shiv Kumar Verma, Yashoda Verma, and Pawan Nathani.
Despite the accusations, the two app promoters have staunchly rejected any misconduct. In a statement to Inc42, they alleged that the ED’s investigation seems more intent on scapegoating them rather than uncovering the truth.