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Bollywood Stars’ Shady Dealings Exposed! 14 Celebs Linked to Rs 417 Crore Betting App Scandal

A shocking betting scandal involving Bollywood stars and the Mahadev Book App has been unveiled. Diving into their dark secrets.

Edited By : Mayank Kasyap | Updated: Sep 15, 2023 21:04 IST
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Celebrities attend international gambler's wedding. (Image Credit: News 24)
Celebrities attend international gambler's wedding. (Image Credit: News 24)

New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has uncovered a web of intrigue involving Bollywood stars and a massive Rs 417 crore betting app scandal. This elaborate scheme has exposed a nexus between politicians, police officers, and political associates in Chhattisgarh, all tied to the Mahadev Book App, a prominent online betting platform with a staggering turnover of approximately Rs 20,000 crore.

Lavish UAE wedding unveils sinister links

The scandal’s unraveling began with the opulent wedding ceremony of Saurabh Chandrakar, the promoter of the Mahadev Book App, held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February. The ceremony attracted many Bollywood luminaries, including singers Neha Kakkar and Sukhwinder Singh, as well as actors Bharti Singh, Bhagyashree, and Tiger Shroff. The shocking part? Over Rs 200 crore was transferred through hawala channels for their performances.

Bollywood’s A-listers involved

The list of celebrities, as reported by India Today Group, connected to this tainted wedding affair is as follows:

  1. Atif Aslam
  2. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
  3. Ali Asghar
  4. Vishal Dadlani
  5. Tiger Shroff
  6. Neha Kakkar
  7. Elli Avram
  8. Bharti Singh
  9. Sunny Leone
  10. Bhagyashree
  11. Pulkit
  12. Kirti Khabanda
  13. Nusrat Bharucha
  14. Krushna Abhishek

The dark web of betting and money laundering

The ED investigation has shed light on the Mahadev Online Book Betting App’s illicit operations, which involve directing new users to illegal betting websites. This app acts as a significant syndicate, facilitating the creation of user IDs for bookies and siphoning money into benami bank accounts through online platforms. Recent raids conducted by the ED in cities like Kolkata, Bhopal, and Mumbai have led to the discovery of incriminating evidence and the freezing and seizure of ill-gotten gains worth Rs 417 crore.

Mahadev app’s global operations

Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, both residing in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, are the masterminds behind the Mahadev Online Book. Operating from Dubai, the company’s central office is situated in the UAE, offering franchise opportunities for “panels/branches” to known associates at a profit-sharing ratio of 70%-30%. The operation includes massive hawala transactions to transfer betting earnings to foreign accounts.

Celebrities and money laundering

Numerous celebrities have been linked to these betting organizations, receiving hefty fees through suspicious transactions. It’s crucial to note that these earnings are ultimately funded by online betting revenues. The ED’s investigation has also revealed connections to senior government officials who received “protection money” in exchange for support.

An extravagant UAE wedding

Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal have amassed their wealth in the UAE, openly flaunting their ill-gotten riches. The lavish wedding of Saurabh Chandrakar in February 2023 cost an astonishing Rs 200 crore in cash, with private jets ferrying family members from Nagpur to the UAE. The wedding employed Mumbai-based wedding planners, dancers, and decorators, with hawala channels facilitating all cash payments.

Unraveling the money trail

ED’s investigative efforts extended to entities connected to the betting operation. The Ahuja brothers at M/s Rapid Travels in Bhopal were found to be handling ticketing operations, utilizing betting panel earnings to book domestic and international flights. ED also identified Vikas Chhaparia in Kolkata, responsible for hawala-related activities. A total of Rs 236.3 crore in cash and security holdings, along with Rs 2.37 crore in unaccounted cash, was seized during these operations.

ED’s vigorous pursuit of justice

The ED’s relentless efforts have led to the identification of key players involved in the money laundering operation of the Mahadev Online Book App. Assets worth Rs 160 crore in demat holdings and Rs 18 lakh in Indian currency, along with gold and jewelry valued at Rs 13 crore, were seized during the search of Govind Kumar Kedia’s premises. With searches conducted at 39 locations in Raipur, Bhopal, Mumbai, and Kolkata, the ED has so far seized illegal assets worth Rs 417 crore. The investigation extends beyond India’s borders, with the PMLA Special Court in Raipur issuing NBWs against absconding suspects.

This explosive scandal continues to unravel, revealing the extent of its reach and implicating some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names.

First published on: Sep 15, 2023 08:54 PM IST
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