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The Hindu
The Hindu
Abhinay Deshpande

Mahadev betting app case | Mumbai Police book Dabur group chairman, 31 others

The Mumbai police, which is investigating the alleged ₹15,000-crore gambling and cyber fraud linked to Mahadev Book Online Betting App syndicate, registered a case against 32 persons, including Dabur Group director Gaurav Burman, company chairman Mohit Burman and actor Sahil Khan.

Sources said Mr. Mohit Burman has been listed as accused number 16, while Mr. Gaurav Burman is at number 18. The Matunga police registered the first information report (FIR) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Gambling Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act, following a complaint lodged by Mumbai-based social worker, Prakash Bankar.

Mr. Khan, accused number 26, was accused of promoting and propagating the Mahadev app and earning huge profits from it.

Mr. Bankar, in his complaint, alleged that a large number of people had been defrauded of nearly ₹15,000 crore through the betting app. He levelled allegations of match-fixing against the accused. Mr. Mohit Burman has direct equity in one of the teams in the IPL cricket league.

“A probe has been launched, and we named the app’s promoters Saurabh Chandrakar, Ravi Uppal and Shubham Soni as the key accused for committing the fraud since 2019 until now,” an official privy to the case said.

The Enforcement Directorate recently claimed that a forensic analysis and a statement made by a ‘cash courier’ Asim Das has led to ‘startling allegations’ that the Mahadev betting app promoters had paid about ₹508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Soon, the BJP released a video of Mr. Soni saying he was the owner of the app and had ‘proof’ of payment of ₹508 crore so far to Mr. Baghel. The Central agency has already arrested four persons and seized proceeds of crime worth over ₹450 crore.

The Mumbai police’s 25-page FIR lists the names of 31 persons.

“We suspect Mr. Khan, who was seen in a video of a party hosted by the promoters of the app in Dubai, was not just promoting and making huge profits, but also running another app,” the officer said.

The complaint accused kingpin Chandrakar and others of being involved in ‘match-fixing’ of major cricket matches and tournaments organised and hosted in India, to make huge profits. Mr. Bankar alleged that the match-fixing operations were done through Mr. Chandrakar’s London-based ‘partner’ Dinesh Khambat and Chander Aggarwal, whose names were also included in the FIR.

The police suspect that Mr. Aggarwal is working in collaboration with Mr. Mohit Burman, who in turn, is connected to Mr. Khambhat and Mr. Gaurav Burman. These individuals have come together to oversee and operate the Khiladi Book website.

However, the officer did not divulge further information about the involvement of Mr. Mohit Burman and Mr. Gaurav Burman, stating that a probe was on.

Meanwhile, the Dabur Group and Burman family have denied any connection to the alleged betting app scam. “The FIR is patently false and baseless,” they said.

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