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Mahadev betting case: App owner Ravi Uppal detained in Dubai amid money laundering investigation

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DELHI, Dec 13: One of the two main owner of the Mahadev online betting app, Ravi Uppal, has been detained in Dubai by the local police following a red notice isseud by the interpol at the behest of the ED.

As per a report by the PTI, 43-year-old, Uppal, was detained last week in Dubaia and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) authorities are in touch with the Dubai officials to get him deported to India.

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The entrepreneur is under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case related to suspected illicit betting through online applications. This investigation is separate from ongoing inquiries by the Chhattisgarh and Mumbai Police crime branches.

The ED had previously filed a charge sheet for money laundering against Uppal and another promoter of the internet-based platform, Sourabh Chandrakar, in October. This legal action took place before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Following the ED’s request and the issuance of a non-bailable warrant by the court, Interpol subsequently issued a red notice against both individuals.

“Process is on to find Chandrakant, 28, too,” PTI quoted the sources as saying.

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The agency informed the court in the charge sheet that Uppal obtained a passport from Vanuatu, an island country in the Pacific Ocean, without renouncing his Indian citizenship.

According to the prosecution complaint by the ED, Uppal “generated and enjoyed proceeds of crime and is involved in their concealment and layering.” The ED alleged that Uppal was responsible for “delivering liaison money to bureaucrats and politicians of Chhattisgarh through Chandrabhushan Verma,” an assistant sub-inspector of police, among others.

The estimated proceeds of crime in this case amount to approximately ₹6,000 crore, as per the ED.

In November, just before the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly polls, the agency claimed that forensic analysis and statements from a ‘cash courier’ named Asim Das suggested that Mahadev betting app promoters had paid around ₹508 crore to former Chhattisgarh chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel. The ED clarified that these allegations were under investigation.

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

The ED investigation revealed that the Mahadev Online Book App operates from a central head office in the UAE, with a franchising model of “Panel/Branches” on a 70-30 profit-sharing ratio with associates. The agency stated that large-scale hawala operations are employed to divert betting proceeds to offshore accounts.

Additionally, substantial cash expenditures are made in India for advertising betting websites to attract new users and franchise seekers, according to the ED.

The promoters of the company are from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, and the Mahadev online book betting application serves as an umbrella syndicate, facilitating online platforms for illegal betting websites.

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