Actor Sahil Khan has taken his fight to the Bombay High Court, aiming to quash the FIR lodged against him in connection with the Lion Book online betting saga. The Lion Book app, suspected to be a subsidiary of the Mahadev app, is one of several online betting platforms attracting scrutiny from authorities.
In lieu of the case being taken to the Bombay High Court, Khan’s legal team argues that the FIR, registered under the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, is “illegal and filled with malafide intentions.” They also submitted that Khan has never been involved with any betting app and the accusations are “illegal, false, bogus” as reported by the Indian Express.
His pre-arrest bail plea was rejected by a sessions court earlier this month, prompting his move to the Bombay High Court. Judge Abhay Joglekar expressed a prima facie connection between Khan and Lion Book, emphasizing that the investigation was in its early stages, thus denying the plea. Now, Khan is banking on the Bombay High Court, with a division bench led by Justice Ajay Gadkari set to hear the case in February 2024.
As per a report in Free Press Journal, Rajiv Chavan, Khan’s counsel, asserts that the FIR fails to establish a case under the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, and the ongoing investigation is still in its early phases. Chavan clarifies that Khan’s role was limited to promoting the application on various platforms, distancing the actor from any illegal undertakings.
Khan seeks plea for quashing the FIR
Pending the hearing on the plea for quashing the FIR, Khan seeks a stay on the ongoing probe, praying the court to prevent the police from taking any coercive actions against him.
The police claims add another layer of complexity to the case, asserting that these betting apps operate through a staggering 2,000 fake SIM cards and over 17,000 bogus bank accounts, indicative of the colossal scale of the fraud. Furthermore, they allege that online betting was actively promoted through more than 1,000 channels on Telegram.
As we await the decision of Bombay High Court, Sahil Khan‘s attempt to clear his name in the Lion Book betting scandal adds a new chapter to the ongoing saga, raising questions about the intersection of celebrity endorsements and legal accountability in the ever-evolving landscape of online betting.