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Mahadev Betting App Case: ED Freezes Assets Worth ₹580 Crore, Nabs Hawala Operator Girish Talreja; Identifies Key Player Of Scandal

By Team Insights Focus

  • 02 Mar 2024
Mahadev Betting App Case: ED Freezes Assets Worth ₹580 Crore, Nabs Hawala Operator Girish Talreja; Identifies Key Player Of Scandal

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has commenced the process of issuing a red corner notice against the kingpins of Mahadev Book illegal betting app, Ratan Lal Jain. Ratan Lal Jain & Girish Talreja, natives of Bhopal, started out as local bookies but later moved to Dubai from where they operate one of the largest betting networks in India. As per ED sources, the duo have allegedly made over Rs 20000 crore already through the illegal betting app.

Both of them already had a lookout notice issued against them by a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The matter was further moved to the Ministry of External Affairs for issuing the red corner notice for Ratan Lal Jain. A red corner notice is issued against individuals who are either wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence. Under a red corner notice, law enforcement agencies worldwide are requested to locate and arrest the said persons pending extradition.

International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has appointed a National Central Bureau (NCB) in all of its 195 member countries. These bureau serve as a single point of contact between Interpol and the respective law enforcement agencies of that member country.

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In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the official NCB that is tasked with publishing, maintaining, and updating Red Corner Notices against fugitives/offenders as needed by India’s law enforcement authorities.

The Mahadev Book case has seen arrests of several individuals recently. Arrested individuals included an ASI named Chandrabhushan Verma, a relative of mastermind named Satish Chandrakar, and hawala operators Anil Dammani and Sunil Dammani. Verma is accused of taking bribes amounting to Rs 65 crore and distributing it to other senior officials under him as well while the others are suspected of carrying out operations of the illegal betting network and laundering the proceeds out of the country.

Meanwhile, The ED presented the four high-profile accused to a special court recently which provided them their judicial custody for seven days which ended yesterday. During that time, ED successfully extracted various pieces of information on the illegal betting network and the people linked to it.

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On February 28, simultaneous raids were conducted by the ED in Raipur, Kolkata, Gurugram, Delhi, Indore, and Mumbai. Harishankar Tibrewal, a hawala operator, was identified in connection with the case. Tibrewal, currently residing in Dubai, was allegedly involved in operating an illegal betting app called Sky Exchange in collaboration with Mahadev app promoters. Assets worth Rs 580.78 crore belonging to Tibrewal have been seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It was discovered during the investigation that Tibrewal had been investing proceeds from illegal betting through his Dubai-based units into the Indian stock market via Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPIs). He had also appointed several associates as directors in the companies involved.

The ED release said that Tibrewal owned and operated one of the illegal betting websites viz. skyexchange, and was involved in large-scale hawala movement of the betting fund

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According to ED officials during the probe they identified the key player of Mahadev betting scandal. ED identified the hawala operator", Hari Shankar Tibrewal in this case. He hails from Kolkata but currently resides in Dubai. He partnered with the promoters of the Mahadev app and also owned and operated an alleged illegal betting app — sky exchange. 

The ED initiated its investigation based on FIRs registered by the Chhattisgarh Police. Subsequently, other FIRs registered by the Vishakhapatnam Police and other states were also included in the investigation. The ED's investigation into Mahadev Online Book revealed large-scale hawala operations aimed at siphoning off the proceeds of betting to offshore accounts.

No VCCircle/TechCircle journalist was involved in the production of this content.

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