How national betting scam Mahadev Book got roots in Andhra Pradesh

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As Mahadev betting app continues to create political furore in Chattisgarh, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) continues with a fast paced investigation.

The ED seized and froze movable properties totaling Rs. 572.41 Crore during searches conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). Two Provisional Attachment Orders have been issued, attaching movable and immovable properties valued at Rs. 142.86 Crore so far.

While the tentacles to Mahadev Book are spread across the country, Andhra Pradesh appears to have a key link since key transactions including a call center operated from the coastal city of Vishakapatnam.

In the supplementary prosecution compliant (equivalent to chargesheet) filed by ED, six FIRs by local police were detailed by anti money laundering watchdog. All the six except one belonged to Chattisgarh while the odd one is an FIR by Andhra Police.

As per the court filings, the accused ran a call centre from Bakkannapalem Village in Vishakapatnam district to take bets. From this call centre in Vishakapatnam, the accused used to take bets from across the country under brand names Tigerexchange, Gold365, Laser247. The initial FIR was filed in June 2023 by Vizag police and stated that the accused ran a gambling business under the guise of in the guise of an online grocery busines.

This followed by ED raids in various locations in Vizag including Madhurawada where several gadgets and money were seized.

The relationship of the betting syndicate with Telugu states is also highlighted by the fact that a subsidiary of Mahadevbook is named as Reddy Anna. Reddy’s are a powerful caste in the Telugu states and the accused intended to create a trust factor by using a powerful caste name.

Gaming for stakes – skill or chance is prohibited in the Telugu states but illegal portals continue to operate with not much intervention from the law enforcement.