There are several reports doing the rounds on the internet stating that the Enforcement Directorate – ED has summoned Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor on 4 October 2023 in link with the Mahadev betting app money laundering scam case. However, a report by News18 mentioned that the actor has not been summoned by ED as an accused but instead called to know the information he has about the money source he got to promote the betting app. The ED has reportedly called Ranbir to appear at their agency’s office in Raipur in Chhattisgarh on 6th October 2023.
For the unaware, Ranbir has received money from the app’s promoters to perform at a grand UAE wedding of one of the two promoters. He also worked on the promotions of the app and featured in the app’s social media advertisements, said sources. Kapoor had received payments in the form of cash for these advertisements, which ED considers to be crime proceeds. There are several others who have also come under the scanner for receiving money to perform at the marriage of the app’s promoter Sourabh Chandrakar. So, as we clarify the questioning by ED of Ranbir and other celebrities is not as “accused” but to understand the Mahadev betting app transactions and related information better.
So, what is the Mahadev app case all about? Well, the Mahadev app allowed for illegal betting on different online games such as poker, card games, chance games, badminton, tennis, football, and cricket. The app has been reportedly run by Dubai-based Saurabh and Ravi Uppal. The company operates from Dubai as betting is legal in Dubai but illegal in India.
Recently, the ED froze and captured assets worth Rs 417 crore in relation to the Mahadev online betting case. The company reportedly used the online book betting application to register new users, create user IDs, and also launder money through a layered web of benami bank accounts, said the officials to media outlets.
Mahadev Online Book App functions by franchising “Panel/Branches” to their known associates on a 70-30 profit ratio. As per ED, large-scale hawala operations were done to siphon off the money from betting to offshore accounts.
The ED examination found that the betting app had a WhatsApp number which if users dialled or sent a message would go to a call centre. The call centre employee would then forward the personal details of the users to a panel operator who would guide the users to open an account on the app, place bets, and also earn money.
There are approximately 4,000 to 5,000 panel operators spread across Chattisgarh, Mumbai, and Delhi disclosed ED. The investigation also found out that the owners have four to five such similar apps in India and one such app in Pakistan.
It feels difficult to sustain in such a competitive world where there are fewer jobs and more money going to only the rich. However, earning quick money by playing bets is not the ideal way in India. So, the next time you download an app on your mobile, ensure to check the legalities involved.