Chhattisgarh Investigative Agency Nets Suspects in Mahadev Online Betting App Scam

Chhattisgarh's Anti-Corruption Bureau arrests two individuals, Rahul Vakte and Ritesh Yadav, in connection with the Mahadev online gaming and betting app scandal. The arrests follow an ED probe into money laundering allegations. Vakte allegedly delivered illegal funds, while Yadav operated the app's panel. The FIR names former CM Bhupesh Baghel and others as accused. The app allegedly generated Rs 450 crore monthly through illegal betting. The ED had earlier arrested nine individuals and filed two chargesheets. Vakte and Yadav have been remanded in ACB/EOW custody for six days.

PTI | Raipur | Updated: 24-04-2024 21:30 IST | Created: 24-04-2024 21:30 IST
Chhattisgarh Investigative Agency Nets Suspects in Mahadev Online Betting App Scam
  • Country:
  • India

Chhattisgarh's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)/Economic Offence Wing (EOW) on Wednesday said it has arrested two persons in connection with the alleged illegal operations of the Mahadev online gaming and betting application that purportedly involved senior politicians and bureaucrats from the state.

The duo's arrest, made from New Delhi and Goa, came after the state probe agency lodged a case on March 4 based on a report submitted to it by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is investigating money laundering angle in the scandal since more than a year.

The ED has separately arrested nine persons so far as part of its probe.

''While (accused) Rahul Vakte was located in Delhi, (co-accused) Ritesh Yadav was found in Goa,'' an ACB/EOW statement said.

The two were produced on Wednesday in a Raipur court which sent them to custody of ACB/EOW for six days, officials said.

The duo was absconding since August last year when an assistant sub-inspector of state police, Chandrabhushan Verma, was arrested (by the ED) in the alleged scam, the statement said.

''Vakte was allegedly engaged in delivering money received through hawala (illegal channel for fund transfer) to Verma. Three firms were registered in the name of Vakte wherein huge amount of cash was deposited. Yadav was allegedly operating panel of the online betting app (Mahadev) and aided Verma and another man Satish Chandrakar after receiving money through Hawala. Rs 43 lakh of hawala money has been frozen,'' it said.

Chandrakar was arrested by the ED last year in its money laundering case.

Yadav was operating Mahadev betting app panel in Pune (Maharashtra). The state's ACB with support of the Pune police conducted raids there and arrested eight people involved in operating betting app panel. Further action against them is being taken by Pune police, the statement said.

The ACB/EOW, in its FIR lodged in the alleged Mahadev betting app scandal, has named former chief minister Bhupesh Baghel of the Congress along with promoters of the app Ravi Uppal, Saurabh Chandrakar, Shubham Soni and Anil Kumar Agrawal and 14 others as accused.

The case was registered under sections 120b (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and others of the IPC and sections 7 and 11 of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018, the ACB/EOW earlier said.

The FIR, citing the ED report, had stated that Mahadev book app promoters Uppal, Saurabh Chandrakar, Shubham Soni and Anil Agrawal created online platform for live online betting and indulged in gambling through WhatsApp, Facebook and telegram and other social media platforms.

The promoters created different platforms and conducted illegal acts of online betting through panel operators/branch operators. They kept 70 per cent to 80 per cent of illegal earnings with them and distributed the rest of the money to panel operators/ branch operators, the FIR said.

The promoters and panel operators garnered around Rs 450 crore per month through the online betting app after the lockdown was imposed in 2020 (following COVID-19 outbreak), it said.

The panel operators transferred illegal money to app promoters in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through various bank accounts, it said.

Several police personnel, administrative officers and influential political persons have misused their positions and acquired illegal assets in the form of protection money from the promoters of Mahadev book app, it said.

Provisional attachment of many immovable properties has been done by the ED, it said.

In January, former CM Baghel, who lost power in December 2023, had termed the ED's action in the Mahadev betting app case as a ''political conspiracy'' and accused the federal agency of acting at the behest of its ''political masters''.

So far, the ED has arrested nine people in the money-laundering-linked case.

The ED has filed two chargesheets till now in a Raipur court, including against the two main promoters of the alleged illegal betting and gaming app, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal. It had conducted multiple raids earlier.

The projected proceeds of crime in the money laundering case have been pegged at about Rs 6,000 crore, according to the ED.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback