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Owner of Mahadev betting app apprehended in Dubai, underway for his deportation to India

Ravi Uppal, the owner of the Mahadev online betting app and a key figure in a money laundering investigation, has been apprehended in Dubai by local authorities. This development comes in the wake of a red corner notice issued by the Enforcement Directorate through Interpol. Uppal’s detention took place last week, and efforts are currently underway to facilitate his deportation to India, according to officials from the anti-money laundering agency.

Ravi Uppal, along with another promoter, Sourabh Chandrakar, is facing a money laundering probe by the central agency based on a case filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, in October. Additionally, the Mumbai Police is conducting its own investigations into cases involving Uppal.

The Enforcement Directorate has disclosed that Uppal and others are being investigated for money laundering and hawala transactions utilizing the Mahadev betting platform. The operations were reportedly managed from a central head office in the UAE, with the estimated proceeds of crime in this case amounting to approximately Rs 6,000 crore.



Mahadev Betting App: Co-Owner Ravi Uppal Detained in Dubai
Mahadev Betting App: Co-Owner Ravi Uppal Detained in Dubai

According to the agency’s findings, the betting app operated by franchising “panel/branches” to known associates on a 70-30 profit-sharing ratio. The platform was used to enroll new users, create IDs, and launder money through a complex network of Benami bank accounts. It’s reported that this operation generated an astonishing daily revenue of Rs 200 crore.

The agency further revealed that large-scale hawala operations were conducted to divert the proceeds of betting to offshore accounts. Substantial cash expenditures were also made in India for the advertising of betting websites, aimed at attracting new users and franchise (panel) seekers, according to officials familiar with the case.

During the course of the investigation, the Enforcement Directorate made startling allegations, claiming that Uppal and others had paid around Rs 508 crore to former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel. The agency, in November, added that these allegations were also “subject matter of investigation.”

The probe has extended to several Bollywood celebrities, including Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Kapil Sharma, Boman Irani, and Hina Khan. These individuals were summoned by the Enforcement Directorate, which suspects them of having accepted significant sums of cash for their participation or performances at events organized by Uppal and Chandrakar.

The detention of Ravi Uppal in Dubai and the unfolding details of the money laundering investigation reveal the magnitude and complexity of illicit activities associated with the Mahadev betting platform. The case underscores the challenges posed by offshore operations and the need for international cooperation in addressing cross-border financial crimes. As the legal proceedings continue, the outcomes will likely have repercussions not only for the individuals involved but also for the broader landscape of online betting platforms and their regulatory oversight.

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