Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor is set to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on October 10, as part of the ongoing investigation into the Mahadev online betting app case. Kapoor, along with several other prominent celebrities, is currently under the ED’s scanner for his role as a social media influencer promoting the controversial online betting platform. Allegations suggest that he received payments for his promotional activities for the app. The investigation also extends to the celebrities’ participation in the extravagant wedding of Sourabh Chandrakar, one of the co-promoters of the online betting app, which took place in Dubai.
Unveiling the Mahadev App
The Mahadev app gained notoriety for enabling illegal betting on a wide array of online games, including poker, card games, chance games, badminton, tennis, football, and cricket. The app is allegedly operated by Dubai residents Saurabh and Ravi Uppal. The choice of Dubai as the company’s headquarters stems from the legality of betting operations in the UAE compared to India, where betting remains illegal. The primary clientele for the Mahadev app is based in India.
Peering into the Mahadev App Scam
The modus operandi of the Mahadev app scam involved multiple branches across India. To establish an app branch, individuals had to deposit approximately ₹20 lakh and assume the role of an ‘admin’ with the authority to assign unique IDs to customers. These branches recruited agents who earned commissions ranging from 6% to 8% when clients placed bets. Agents facilitated the creation of user IDs via phone calls or messages on platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp. Users were then provided with an ID and password to access the app for betting. Branch managers, equipped with laptops, mobiles, and other devices, facilitated online betting activities.
Remarkably, the Mahadev app had amassed a substantial customer base of 30-40 lakh users through word-of-mouth referrals, bolstering its credibility. Payments were predominantly processed through UPI-based systems, simplifying the tracking of bettors. Users were encouraged to deposit funds into savings bank accounts, many of which were later found to be fraudulent.
The Emergence of the Mahadev App Case
The Mahadev app case originated from a police raid conducted by the Durg police in Bhilai on March 30, 2022. The raid was prompted by a tip-off regarding illegal online betting activities associated with the Mahadev app. A case was subsequently registered at the Mohan Nagar police station, leading to a series of raids targeting the creators and promoters of the app across the Durg district.
Numerous individuals connected to the operation of the Mahadev app in various districts were arrested. Transactions amounting to ₹5,000 crores were traced across India in 2022 through the app. Over 72 cases have been filed, resulting in 449 arrests nationwide.
Authorities have seized 196 laptops, 885 mobile devices, assorted electronic equipment, and over ₹40 lakh in cash. Approximately 1000 bank accounts linked to the app have been frozen, effectively halting its operations.
The ongoing investigation into the Mahadev app case continues to unravel the intricate web of illegal betting and financial irregularities, with celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor now becoming a focal point in the probe.
Sources By Agencies