Ahmedabad: Rs 1800 crore hawala racket with links to Mahadev Book betting busted, four arrested

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Prevention of Crime Branch (PCB) team of Ahmedabad police has arrested four individuals for engaging in hawala transactions worth Rs 1800 crore relating to cricket betting and dabba trading with links to illegal betting ring Mahadev Book as well.

A raid was conducted at a commercial centre in the Madhavpura area where the four, identified as Jitendra Hiragar, Satish Parihar, Ankit Gehlot and Nirav Patel, were arrested. The accused used the office of Mahavir Enterprises to conduct their illegal transactions using dummy bank accounts.

During the raid, the police seized seven mobile phones, three laptops, 536 cheque books, 538 debit cards, 14 POS machines of different banks, one router, 193 SIM cards and seven PAN cards, as reported by TV9 Gujarati.

According to the police, the accused have been operating the scam since 2021. For hawala transactions, they used to open bank accounts of laymen. A number of dummy companies were also formed for the purpose.

Several illegal betting applications like Mahadev Book, CBTF247, and cricketbet9 were used. A man named Harshit Jain, who owns Mahavir Enterprises, allegedly ran the online betting operations, and maintained nearly 540 fictitious dummy bank accounts, according to an FIR filed with the Madhavpura police by an ASI of PCB, Jagdevsinh Charan.

The bookies would provide their customers access to these bank accounts for transactions. Harshit would receive a 3.5% fee for every transaction made in these bank accounts. The transactions in these dummy accounts have amounted to more than Rs 70 crore per month since 2021. The holders of these accounts used to get Rs 5000-10000 as commission every month.

The police has alleged that the four accused used to transact with some well-known bookies. 16 such bookies have been declared wanted including Saurabh Chandrakar of Mahadev Book, Amit Majethia, Manush Shah and Anna Reddy of Reddy Anna Book.

The aforementioned bookies are currently operating their illegal betting apps from Dubai. Incidentally, the Durg police have arrested many people connected to the Mahadev book app.

Meanwhile, the four individuals arrested by the PCB team of Ahmedabad police have been charged under the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act 1887, Information Technology Act 2000 and the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956.