IT department sends notice to casino organizer Chikoti Praveen

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The Benami Prohibition Unit of the Income Tax Department has granted a show-cause notice to casino organizer Chikoti Praveen regarding his expensive Range Rover. The department has also requested a response as to why his vehicle shouldn’t be impounded in accordance with the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.

Investigations revealed that despite the INR 2.85 Cr Range Rover being registered in the name of an unrelated company, he was the “beneficial owner.”

“The Range Rover is owned by a company owner, who is a good friend of mine. Whenever I need it, I use it. What’s wrong with this? I have received notices from the I-T Benami Unit and I have replied to the notice,” Praveen said in a statement to The Times of India.

The Hyderabad branch of the Enforcement Directorate is also suspecting a possible money laundering aspect of Chikoti and his partners’ gaming business in Nepal. After searches, ED filed a case under FEMA and repeatedly interrogated him.

Speaking on the ED investigation, Praveen said, “There is no hawala involved. Casinos are legal in Nepal. I had organized casino parties in Nepal by taking people from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The FEMA case against me is still under investigation.”

Praveen is associated with the Gudivada Casino, which caused a significant flutter in the Andhra Pradesh Heroine in July 2022. He disregarded the infractions in the Gudivada episode in Andhra Pradesh, where it was claimed that he had planned a casino party for Sankranti.

Back in 2022, ED raided Praveen’s premises on his suspected Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, violations. ED further raided seven more locations relating to his operations and found several large transactions which were believed to be in connection with high stakes gambling parties in Nepal and Sri Lanka.