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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Mahadev betting app promoter detained in Dubai

The Dubai police have detained Ravi Uppal, a key accused in the Mahadev Online Book betting app case. The Indian authorities are in touch with their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to secure his custody.

Mr. Uppal was reportedly apprehended a few days ago, on the Enforcement Directorate’s request via the Ministry of External Affairs and the Interpol. Along with another app promoter Sourabh Chandrakar, he is facing money laundering charges in the cases registered by the police in Chhattisgarh and Mumbai.

Mr. Uppal allegedly obtained a passport from Vanuatu, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, despite not having relinquished his Indian citizenship. At this point, the ED suspects that the total proceeds of the crime amount to ₹6,000 crore.

Alleged payments to Baghel

In November, the agency had issued a statement that it was probing an alleged payment of about ₹508 crore by the Mahadev app promoters to then-Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel over a period of time. The ED had cited the purported confession of alleged cash courier Asim Das.

“From the questioning of Asim Das, and from the forensic examination of the phone recovered from him, and examination of an email sent by Shubam Soni [one of the high ranking accused of Mahadev network], many startling allegations have come forth... namely, that regular payments have been made in the past and so far around ₹508 crore have been paid by Mahadev app promoters to Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. These are subject matters of investigation,” it had said.

It is alleged that the Mahadev app was an umbrella syndicate that arranged online platforms to enable illegal betting websites to enrol new users, create IDs, and launder ill-gotten money through a complex web of “benami” bank accounts. The two main accused ran the network from Dubai.

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