Dubai authorities have detained Ravi Uppal, one of the principal owners of the Mahadev online betting app, based on an Interpol red notice issued at the request of India’s enforcement directorate (ED).
What Happened: Last week, authorities apprehended 43-year-old Uppal, and ED officials are coordinating with Dubai authorities for his deportation to India. He faces ED, Chhattisgarh Police and Mumbai Police investigations related to money laundering and illegal betting.
In October, the ED filed a money laundering charge sheet against Uppal and fellow promoter Sourabh Chandrakar in a special prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) court in Raipur. The Interpol subsequently issued a red notice based on the ED’s request. The agency revealed that Uppal holds a Vanuatu passport while maintaining Indian citizenship.
Why It Matters: According to the ED’s prosecution complaint, Uppal actively concealed and layered the proceeds of crime, including liaising with bureaucrats and politicians in Chhattisgarh. The alleged proceeds of crime in this case amount to around ₹6,000 crore.
In November, the ED claimed that Mahadev app promoters paid around ₹508 crore to former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Forensic analysis and statements by a “cash courier” named Asim Das led to these “startling allegations,” according to the agency. Das later claimed he was framed and had never delivered cash to politicians.
The ED’s investigation revealed that Mahadev Online Book App operated from a central head office in the United Arab Emirates, running on a franchising model with known associates. Large-scale hawala operations were used to transfer betting proceeds to offshore accounts. Additionally, significant cash expenditures occured in India for advertising illegal betting websites and attracting new users and franchise seekers.
Promoters of the company oversaw the Mahadev online book betting application, acting as an umbrella syndicate facilitating various illegal betting platforms online.
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