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The Hindu
The Hindu

Mahadev betting app case | ED files fresh charge sheet in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a fresh charge sheet before a special court in Raipur in a money laundering case investigation linked to alleged illegal betting and gaming through the Mahadev online book app, official sources said.

The federal agency will share this second prosecution complaint (charge sheet) with authorities in Dubai to secure either the deportation or extradition of the two main promoters of the app - Ravi Uppal and Sourabh Chandrakar, they said.

The two were recently detained in Dubai on the basis of an Interpol red notice issued against them at the behest of the ED. The agency is understood to have shared the contents of the first charge sheet with the UAE authorities, on the basis of which a non-bailable warrant was secured against the two leading to issuance of the Interpol red notice (RN).

The about 1,700-1,800 page fresh charge sheet was filed on January 1 and five accused, including alleged cash courier Asim Das, police constable Bheem Singh Yadav, Shubham Soni, a prominent executive linked to the app, among others have been named as accused, they said.

Also Read: Father of Mahadev app scam accused found dead in Chhattisgarh; cops suspect suicide

The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court is expected to take cognisance of the charge sheet on January 10, ED counsel Saurabh Pandey said.

Mr. Das and Mr. Yadav were arrested by the agency in November, just before the first phase of polling for the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

Mr. Soni, who had claimed to be the owner of the app, earlier issued a video statement and sent an affidavit to the ED claiming to have "proof" about kickbacks paid to politicians and their linked persons for allowing the app to run its illegal businesses without any legal action.

The agency, in its first charge sheet filed before the special PMLA court in Raipur had named Mr. Chandrakar and Mr. Uppal along with some others.

The ED alleged in the first charge sheet that Mr. Chandrakar got married at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE in February, 2023 and about ₹200 crore "in cash" were spent for this event in which private jets were hired to ferry his relatives from India to the UAE and celebrities were paid to perform.

The agency had earlier said that the alleged illegal funds generated by the app were shared as bribes to politicians and bureaucrats in the state even as it has summoned many celebrities and Bollywood actors for questioning on the mode of payment and their links with the online betting platform.

The projected proceeds of crime in this case is about ₹6,000 crore, according to the ED.

The agency had claimed in November, just before the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly polls, that forensic analysis and statement made by Asim Das have led to "startling allegations" that Mahadev betting app promoters have paid about ₹508 crore to former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel so far, adding these allegations were "subject matter of investigation".

Mr. Baghel had called these charges an attempt to "malign" his image while the Congress called its "vendetta politics" of the Centre against its CM.

Mr. Das had later submitted before the special court in Raipur that he had been framed as part of a conspiracy and he had never delivered cash to politicians.

The two promoters hail from Bhilai town in Chhattisgarh and the Mahadev online book betting application is an umbrella syndicate arranging online platforms for enabling illegal betting websites.

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