ED makes two fresh arrests in Mahadev betting app money laundering case

Nitin Tibrewal, a resident of Kolkata, and Raipur-based Amit Agrawal were taken into custody under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

ED makes two fresh arrests in Mahadev betting app money laundering case

Saturday January 13, 2024,

3 min Read

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested two more persons in connection with its money laundering investigation into the Mahadev online betting and gaming app case, officials said on Saturday.

Nitin Tibrewal, a resident of Kolkata, and Raipur-based Amit Agrawal were taken into custody under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and produced before a special court in Raipur on Friday, ED lawyer Saurabh Pandey said.

The court sent them to ED custody till January 17, he said.

Tibrewal is alleged to be a "close associate" of an accused in the case, Vikash Chapparia.

He is alleged to have purchased some "undisclosed" properties in Dubai and a majority shareholder in an FPI company in which Chapparia is also a shareholder, ED sources said.

The agency suspects these assets were bought using the "proceeds of crime" generated from the profits of Mahadev app.

Amit Agrawal, the sources said, is a relative of another accused in the case, Anil Kumar Agrawal.

Amit Agrawal is alleged to have received Mahadev app funds from Anil Kumar Agrawal and his (Amit Agrawal's) wife is said to have purchased many properties along with Anil Dammani, another accused in the case.

Two Dubai-based immovable assets, a flat and a plot, worth Rs 99.46 crore belonging to Chhapparia and Anil Agrawal were attached by the ED last year.

The agency had earlier arrested alleged cash courier Asim Das, police constable Bheem Singh Yadav, ASI Chandrabhushan Verma, alleged hawala operator brothers Anil and Sunil Dammani and a man identified as Satish Chandrakar in this case.

The agency had earlier said that the alleged illegal funds generated by the app were used to pay bribes to politicians and bureaucrats in the state.

Many celebrities and Bollywood actors were summoned for questioning by the agency on their links with the online betting platform and the mode of payment.

So far, the ED has filed two charge sheets in this case, including against the two main promoters of the alleged illegal betting and gaming app—Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal—among others.

The two were recently detained in Dubai on the basis of an Interpol red notice issued at the behest of the ED and the agency is trying to have them deported or extradited from the UAE to India.

The ED alleged in the first charge sheet that Chandrakar got married at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, in February 2023 and about Rs 200 crore "in cash" was spent for this event.

Private jets were hired to ferry Chandrakar's relatives from India to the UAE and celebrities were paid to perform at the wedding, the agency alleged.

The projected proceeds of crime in this case are about Rs 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 the statement of Asim Das have led to "startling allegations" that Mahadev betting app promoters have paid about Rs 508 crore to former Chhattisgarh chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel so far, adding that these allegations were "subject matter of investigation".

Baghel had called these charges an attempt to "malign" his image while the Congress termed it "vendetta politics" of the Centre against him.

Chandrakar and Uppal hail from Bhilai town in Chhattisgarh. The Mahadev online betting app is an umbrella syndicate arranging online platforms for enabling illegal betting websites.

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