PP Poker: ED files chargesheet against the accused

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The ED on Wednesday released a press note stating it has filed a charge sheet before a Goa court in a money laundering case linked to the placing of illegal bids through an online poker gaming app.

The prosecution complaint has been filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mapusa on June 3 against Kolkata residents and accused in the case, Hardeep Singh and Ankur Khanna. The agency had arrested the accused in April and got custody for 8 days initially.

They were arrested by the agency after coordinated raids were conducted against them and some other club managers/agents located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Goa.

The court took cognizance of the charge sheet on June 17 and it has issued notices to the accused, the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement.

The money laundering case stems from a Goa Police FIR filed under various sections of the IPC and the Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act of 1976, and section 66-D of the Information Technology Act.

The IT Act section talks about punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resources.

The police FIR pressed the charges for ”illegal gaming activities and siphoning huge money through secret networks leading to loss to the government exchequer. The law enforcement agency accused that Hardeep Singh and Rahul Khanna were operating a union namely ‘mini-India’ on PP Poker online gaming app.

”Under their union, it is seen that around 25-30 clubs were being operated by different individuals,” the ED said in a press release dated 22 June.

Through these clubs, individual players are invited through WhatsApp chats for placing ”illegal bets” through the poker gaming app, it alleged. ”It is seen that commissions were generated at the rate of 5-10 percent by the said clubs on each table.

”The settlement of the commission and the betting amount is done illegally through hawala operators in cash or through anonymous crypto accounts with each individual player and union head by their respective club managers,” the agency said.

Both the accused, ED said, had also invested proceeds of crime in the form of crypto accounts which were ”traced” by the ED.