Mahadev App Promoter Detained In Dubai, May Be Deported To India Soon

The other promoter of the app, Sourabh Chandrakar, is still on the run. New Delhi: In a big development

Mahadev App Promoter Detained In Dubai, May Be Deported To India Soon

The other promoter of the app, Sourabh Chandrakar, is still on the run.

New Delhi:

In a big development in the Mahadev betting app case, one of the two main promoters, Ravi Uppal, has been detained by the police in Dubai based on a red corner notice issued by Interpol at the request of the Enforcement Directorate. Uppal was detained last week and sources said he is likely to be deported to India soon. 

The Mahadev app, which reportedly turned over a profit of Rs 200 crore a day, had also caused a political stir ahead of the elections in Chhattisgarh in November. 

The Enforcement Directorate had claimed that a cash courier, Asim Das, had alleged that the promoters of the app had paid Rs 508 crore to then Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. When he was produced before a court, however, the courier had said he was being framed as part of a conspiracy and he had never delivered any cash to politicians. 

During its investigation, the agency found that Uppal holds a passport of Vanuatu, a country in the Pacific Ocean, and had been “roaming freely” using that, but had not given up his Indian citizenship. He had also applied for an Australian visa using the passport.

The other promoter of the app, Sourabh Chandrakar, whose Rs 200-crore wedding in Dubai had been attended by several Bollywood celebrities in February, is still on the run and efforts are on to trace him, ED officials said. 

How The App Worked

According to the ED investigation so far, the key movers behind the app were Chandrakar and Uppal, who hailed from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh but operated out of Dubai. Several subsidiary betting apps were run by the two men and several other people, and call centres were operated in different cities in India, Malaysia, Thailand and the UAE. At least 30 call centres were run over India, including in Chhattisgarh. 

The apps run by this organisation witnessed transactions worth thousands of crores and their daily profit was to the tune of nearly Rs 200 crore a day. 

ED officials said Chandrakar and Uppal also had links with the police, bureaucrats and politicians, and regular payments were made to ensure that the app stayed off the radar of investigating agencies. 

The ED has, so far, arrested 6 people in the case – Sunil Damani, Anil Damani, Assistant Sub-Inspector Chandrabhushan Verma of the Chhattisgarh Police, a constable and Satish Chandrakar.

Roles, Linkages

The Indian operations were being run by brothers Anil and Sunil Damani, who were close associates of the promoters. ED officials said the Damani brothers opened several benami bank accounts, which were used to move money. 

The promoters would send cash to the Damani brothers in Chhattisgarh using hawala channels and Assistant Sub-Inspector Chandrabhushan Verma would deliver part of it to police officers, bureaucrats and politicians as bribes, officials said. 

During his interrogation, Anil Damani told the police that he and his brother had done transactions worth Rs 60 to 65 crore through hawala channels in the past two-three years at the behest of Uppal. 

“Anil Damani also said that the brothers ran a hawala channel through their jewellery shop in Raipur. Their call details have revealed that they were in constant touch with Uppal,” said an official. 

Satish Chandrakar ran four call centres for the organisation and had a five per cent stake in them. He also looked after illegal money transactions, officials said, adding that he had links with known gangster and drug dealer Tapan Sarkar, who is on the run. 

Ravi Uppal and Sourabh Chandrakar have denied their involvement with the Mahadev app or the betting syndicate and said that these were run by one Shubham Soni, who is also based in Dubai. The courier who was caught with over Rs 5 crore ahead of the Chhattisgarh elections had claimed he had been given the money by Soni.

Soni had also released a video claiming that Bhupesh Baghel had been given Rs 508 crore by the Mahadev app promoters.

Several Bollywood actors and other celebrities, including Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Kapil Sharma have been summoned by the ED for either appearing in ads for the app or performing at Sourabh Chandrakar’s wedding in Dubai. 

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