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ED exposes elaborate scheme in Mahadev App Betting Case: call centres run from villas in Dubai’s Al Barsha, assets worth Rs 541.7 crore frozen

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has revealed further details in its supplementary chargesheet filed in the Mahadev app betting case, expanding the scope of the scam to an estimated Rs 6,000 crore. The extensive 1,800-page document, accompanied by four hard disks, introduces five new accused and delves into the involvement of Dubai-based operations, highlighting the misuse of villas in Al Barsha for running call centres. The chargesheet, set for the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court’s consideration on January 10, exposes the deep-rooted network behind the illicit betting activities.

Among the new accused, the chargesheet points to suspended constable Bhim Singh Yadav, identified for collecting protection money and liaising for Mahadev betting apps. Cash courier Aseem Das, was found in possession of Rs 5.39 crore. Meanwhile, Shubham Soni, stationed in Dubai, managed operations for the app’s main promoters.

Anil Aggarwal and Rohit Gulati, also based in Dubai, are implicated as the promoter and account manager, respectively. The chargesheet draws attention to 19 individuals arrested in Visakhapatnam, specifically mentioning Prathik Mishra, accused of running a call centre for illegal sports betting websites linked to Mahadev app operators. Mishra allegedly operated a network of punters, collecting money and facilitating bets on various platforms.

The betting proceeds, post the government’s block on Mahadev app, were reportedly used to operate 60 illegal offshore gambling websites, including Lotus365, FairPlay, Reddy Anna, Laser Book, Tiger Exchange, BetBook247, and Gold365. The intricate financial transactions involved opening multiple Canara Bank accounts in various names to launder the proceeds, amounting to Rs 450 crore per month.

The investigation exposes the involvement of professional international hawala operators in Mumbai and Gujarat, orchestrating fund transfers to Dubai. As reported in News18, the chargesheet reveals the misuse of villas in Al Barsha, Dubai, housing call centres for the Mahadev app, hosting 50-70 individuals.

In a widespread crackdown, ED has conducted searches across 80 premises in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Bihar. The agency has seized cash worth Rs 10.42 crore, valuables worth Rs 14.9 crore, and frozen assets totalling Rs 541.7 crore. The chargesheet unravels a multi-faceted operation with international links, emphasizing the need for stringent measures against such complex financial crimes.

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