ED busts multi-crore Mahadev online betting network, freezes assets worth Rs.1296.05 crore

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The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) recently conducted extensive searches targeting money laundering networks associated with Mahadev Online Book in Kolkata, Gurugram, Delhi, Indore, Mumbai, and Raipur, resulting in the recovery of cash amounting to Rs.1.86 Crore and valuables worth Rs.1.78 Crore. Additionally, proceeds of crime worth Rs.580.78 Crore have been frozen or identified.

The searches also yielded a substantial amount of incriminating evidence, including digital data and asset identification. The ED’s investigation was initiated based on FIRs filed by the Chhattisgarh Police, with subsequent FIRs from the Visakhapatnam Police and other states also under consideration. It has been revealed that Mahadev Online Book operates its activities from Dubai, franchising “Panel/Branches” to associates on a profit-sharing ratio of 70%-30%.

Furthermore, it has come to light that the main promoters of Mahadev Online Book are also involved in other online betting platforms such as “Reddy Anna” and “Fairplay.” Large-scale hawala operations are being employed to divert betting proceeds to offshore accounts. During the investigation, ED identified Hari Shankar Tibrewal, a significant player associated with the promoters of Mahadev Online Book. Tibrewal, based in Dubai but originally from Kolkata, is implicated as a major hawala operator partnering with the Mahadev Online Book promoters.

ED’s searches at Tibrewal’s known premises and those of his associates revealed ownership and operation of an illegal betting website, Skyexchange. Tibrewal, through his Dubai-based entities, was found to be investing betting proceeds in the Indian stock market via the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route. He also employed associates as directors in various companies involved in layering betting proceeds through stock market investments and large-scale hawala transactions. As a result, ED has frozen security holdings worth Rs.580.78 Crore in entities beneficially owned by Hari Shankar Tibrewal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

In previous actions related to this case, movable properties totaling Rs.572.41 Crore were seized/frozen under the PMLA, 2002. Two Provisional Attachment Orders, attaching movable and immovable properties valued at Rs.142.86 Crore, have been issued. Prosecution complaints dated 20.10.2023 and 01.01.2024 have been filed, resulting in the apprehension of nine accused individuals. The total attachment/freezing in the Mahadev case now stands at Rs 1296.05 Crore.