The Enforcement Directorate’s summons to actor Ranbir Kapoor in the Mahadev online betting app case has created a buzz over this company that has been accused of money laundering.
What exactly is Mahadev online betting app, and who are its promoters? How did a juice and tyre shop owner in Chhattisgarh became the ringleader of a massive betting racket?
The black money masterminds Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal are two big names in the shady world of online betting.
Their network is not only in India but also in the UAE, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. The Enforcement Directorate is looking for the two men and has issued non-bailable warrants and lookout circulars.
Both the accused are residents of Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai.
Surprisingly, till a few years ago, Sourabh Chandrakar had been running a juice shop in Bhilai’s Nehru Nagar, while Ravi Uppal owned a tyre shop. Investigators said both became addicted to gambling.
With whatever savings they had, the two men went to Dubai and met a sheikh and a Pakistani national, who eventually worked together to open the Mahadev online betting app. Soon, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal made a ‘name’ for themselves in the betting world.
The ED said the two men set up a network of some 4,000 panel operators in India for online betting. Each panel operator has 200 customers who place bets.
Using this method, the two had been making at least Rs 200 crore daily and managed to build an ’empire’ in the UAE.
When Sourabh Chandrakar got married in February this year in the UAE, he allegedly spent Rs 200 crore in cash to organise a grand wedding ceremony. He hired a private jet to fly his family from Bhilai and Nagpur to the UAE.
Hawala channels were used to pay wedding planners, dancers, decorators, etc. A hawala transaction refers to a financial crime when money changes hands without entering the formal banking system.
Sourabh Chandrakar invited 14 Bollywood celebrities to perform at the wedding; all are under the Enforcement Directorate’s radar now.
Last month, the investigators seized assets worth Rs 417 crore by raiding 39 locations in Mumbai, Kolkata and Bhopal in the Mahadev online betting app case.
Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal are hiding abroad.
The Enforcement Directorate investigation has shown that Mahadev Online Book App is run from a central head office in the UAE, officials said. It operates by franchising “Panel/Branches” to their known associates on 70-30 per cent profit ratio, the Enforcement Directorate said.