ED freezes bank accounts containing crores from IPL betting

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has frozen five bank accounts in Surat under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). These dummy accounts were being used to transfer funds for illegal betting and gambling related activities during the ongoing IPL 2023.

These accounts were handled by Harish alias Kamlesh Jariwala and few others and held a total of Rs 3.44 Crore owned by M/s. Mitalia Enterprises, M/s. R M Enterprises, M/s. D M Enterprises, M/s. Vishwakarma Traders and M/s. XBT Labs.

Funds in these accounts were received through people placing bets on illegal betting apps during the IPL, namely CBTF247 and T20EXCHANGE. Further investigation by the ED also revealed that as many as 93 bank accounts are linked to the case.

Preliminary investigation on the case started after an FIR was registered by DCB, Surat. According to the report, Harish partnered with Rushikesh Adhikar Shinde and Huzefa Kausar Masakarwala. These people used to get ID documents from people and open dummy bank accounts to use them to transfer funds from people betting on cricket matches.

Many people regularly use these types of illegal offshore betting websites as they promote very high rate of returns on placing bets including match bonus, referral rewards, etc. People often fall victim to these adverts and end up losing money.

An ED official said, “Lack of regulation makes it an attractive business for bookies and online betting apps operate in the shadows under fake names and URLs. The use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum makes it even more difficult to track the flow of funds,” according to Free Press Journal.

Government taking efforts to curb illegal betting

The government is working on ways to curb these illegal betting and gambling websites and have tried several methods to stop access to their websites. Earlier, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) banned domains of numerous illegal websites, but they usually hop domains to bypass the ban.

Alternatively, MeitY is now planning to ban the payment gateway access for these websites, which might prove as more definitive measure to safeguard people against these illegal betting and gambling.